Take a Joke playfully questioned the role of laughter and humour in a hospital environment and explored its potential for improving well-being. Taking inspiration from the traditional waiting room ‘take a number’ dispensers and the Foundling Hospital’s collection of tokens, patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital worked with artist Davina Drummond to experiment with the idea of joke sharing within their wards.
Through the process of developing their own medical jokes, children undergoing bone marrow transplants in Fox and Robin wards, and their families, explored and shared their experiences of treatment and isolation. As a way to share their personalised jokes, joke dispensing machines were situated at Great Ormond Street Hospital and in the Museum’s Introductory Gallery.
Since 2014 the Foundling Museum and GOSH Arts have worked in partnership to undertake a series of artist-led projects with children at the hospital, designed to enhance young patients’ experience as part of the holistic care provided. Responding to the legacy of the Foundling Hospital, the children have worked directly with visual artists to create animations and works of art addressing their personal experiences of hospital.