Rachel Henaghan

I am an artist who examines the human relationship with physical space and the impact upon health and wellbeing. My experiences as a paramedic have affected the way I navigate the urban environment. I map journeys and collate both biosensing data and field recordings in order to create immersive light and sound installations. Frustrated by performance indicators which at times seemed at odds with delivery of patient care, I question the nature of such work by mapping abstracted journeys. Feeling demoralised and sleep deprived was a catalyst for raising awareness of mental health in essential workers. My work might be considered “survivalist” and was initially driven by a need to protect my own mental health: hypervigilant in the city, I seek out urban blue spaces for solace, and gather comparative data from rural swimming. Data acquisition is underpinned by therapeutic process production: swimming and a sensuous relationship with water is encrypted in drawings and a “you’ll be okay” blanket has been quilted from data stories.
Writing is a core element of my practice as are experiments with performance to deliver harrowing words with care and empathy for both performer and listener.
A unique perspective as a paramedic relates to BOM’s vision as it seeks to give a voice to a group that might not usually access the arts or utilise arts to communicate ideas, due to a lack of awareness and social stigma. My aims are to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by emergency service workers, with a hope to be able to effect cultural change within organisations. Currently I am examining ways in which “hacking” existing technologies in the workplace might be used to influence this.