In this series, Ben chats with leaders in the culture and care sectors to discover more about their inspiration, influences, projects, and the future of arts in health.

Who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it?

I'm Victoria Tischler. I am a psychologist, researcher and curator. I am passionate about art and mental health. 

What do you see is the main role of art in healthcare today?

This is an exciting time for art in healthcare as we are beginning to understand the powerful role it can play in the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors. Art is an innovative way to improve individual wellbeing but also to enhance and transform clinical environments that are often cold and bland. Artists and healthcare professionals can also learn from each other, and improve their practice as result. 

How have you seen the sector change in the past five years?

There are fewer resources available and more pressure on healthcare services. There is an expectation for artists to demonstrate their worth and for healthcare staff to work in an interdisciplinary way. This may be challenging but is also an opportunity to create novel collaborative projects.

'House for a Gordian Knot' by Ekkehard Altenburger. © the artist

Where do you see research (or project) trends going –  and what is your vision for the next five years?

There'll be an increased emphasis on evaluation of impact. My vision is to create strategic, creative networks that identify and create opportunities for interesting projects. It’s important to work with people you like.

Tell me about your favourite project that you have worked on recently.

I commissioned a sculpture to commemorate the opening of the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham. The sculptor Ekkehard Altenburger won the commission and produced a nine-tonne marble piece called House for a Gordian Knot. It is an astonishing and cryptic sculpture that contrasts with the modernist architecture of the University of Nottingham's Jubilee campus, and creates much interest for staff and visitors. I like to think it will remain standing long after we are all gone. When I moved from Nottingham, I joked about taking my 'big baby' with me!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Take chances and don't be afraid of risk. 

What would be a dream project for the future?

Creating a multi-purpose community art space. It will combine artist studios, a bar/cafe, performance and gallery spaces, and meeting rooms. It would facilitate creative activities for the entire community, including those who are marginalised. It would have the cool factor, so that it attracts lots of visitors, making it a non-stigmatising yet accessible space that transforms people's lives and takes art into the community.

Both Victoria and Ben are on Twitter: @victischler, @HighStreetBen