Collaborative Wall Project in Nursing Academia
Forming community in nursing academia is foundational to the success of the department, along with the staff, faculty, and students seeking to thrive within it. Let’s review some best practices for building healthy communities and then explore a group-based project that just might help to lift these efforts. So to start, community focuses on the members and involves and empowers each partner to rise. Collective purpose fosters connection, but when obstacles arise that threaten common efforts, the road within the collective purpose might get bumpy. Here, we propose an ongoing art and conversation project that aims to pull the group up, to hold strong together.
Materials you will need:
Fencing support- Consider picking up a simple trellis from your local garden center or checking with your department of public works to see if they have any used trellis leftover from the season’s end. Another idea may be to gather wood scraps or branches (may want to treat these before use) to form into horizontal/vertical framework patterns of your choosing. (Personally, we are big into gardening and working with wood/nature, so the last option speaks well to us.)
Cloth- Perhaps you have some fabric scraps lying around or could tear some up from an old shirt that no longer serves its purpose.
Writing tool- The best of luck may be had with using a fabric marker, though anything you have on hand that can dry and retain on the cloth you selected should work fine.
Basket- This will be used to hold the cloth pieces, so should be of a size and material friendly to this use.
Hole punch- Add an opening to the end of each fabric piece by using a hole punch to remove a small circular patch. A pair of scissors or shears could also be used for this.
String- We suggest hemp if you have it on hand, as the natural materials of the wood and hemp may be grounding, and hemp is also durable for use. Really, any string material that is flexible and ties well should work.
Depending on the direction you take your creativity in while constructing your frame, some additional tools and/or fasteners may be necessary.
The community-focused thoughts and feelings that arise along the way. Pay attention to, gather, and put forth what surfaces, as the non-material supplies add the rolling fuel necessary for the success of this project.
Now, before we segue into discussing the practical steps of the project, we just want to highlight the significance of intention, delivery, and follow through, as they are very important here. OK, so on to what to do now. This is where the partnership comes in!
Each contributor gathers a piece of cloth to scribe a hope, goal, burden, or success, on. These elements are put out to hold closer, ponder further, or let go. Next, use the string to tie each component to the frame. Mount the art piece to a wall in a space that is welcoming and inclusive. Keep this community collaborative wall project going day-to-day, semester-to-semester. As the team expands and contracts, grow with, and from, it. Use the physical space that this wall occupies as a place to be with your thoughts, hopes, and struggles. Consider routinely visiting this wall to reflect and branch out.
Furthering introspection, reflection, and open dialogue, can act as a catalyst to navigating hurdles together. Bringing in new members of the team to check out the earlier progress and welcome them to contribute, also sends a message of an outstretched hand, which nursing academia, in general, could benefit from encouraging.
If this project speaks to you and you decide to incorporate it, let us know! We would love to hear how it’s supporting your community.
Have another creative community-building idea? Consider sharing it here.