University Hospital Waterford as it now stands is light years away from the scattered collection of single storey units which reflected its earlier designation as a treatment centre for tuberculosis. This regional centre of medical excellence has embraced the integration of the arts into healthcare with enthusiasm since the early 1990s.

Dr Abdul Bulbulia first suggested the idea of introducing the arts into the daily life of University Hospital Waterford in 1990. At this time, the potential role of the arts in the hospital environment was a new concept in Ireland. It had, however, been explored in the UK for some 15 years previously.

Once the hospital management saw the value of the proposal, a committee comprising representatives of the hospital, arts and business sectors was set up to oversee developments. The success of Waterford Healing Arts Trust is largely attributable to the dedication and commitment of this committee. Dr Bulbulia, Mary Baxter, Mai Lannigan, Mary Halpin, Tony McNamara, Derek Verso, Willie Fanning, Peter Finnegan and Peter Jordan developed WHAT in the early years.

From its inception, strong support has come from the South Eastern Health Board/HSE, Waterford City and County Council, FAS/Department of Social Protection, the Arts Council and corporate partners.

In January 1994, Aifric Gray was appointed to the post of Artist in Residence for a six-month pilot project. She went on to become the full-time Arts Co-ordinator, a role taken up in 2002 by Mary Grehan. Leah Coyne also worked as Arts Co-ordinator from 2004 to 2006. Claire Meaney became the Assistant Arts Director in 2007 and Director of WHAT in January 2020. WHAT now employs a team of nine staff including five on a Community Employment scheme, and a team of artists working on a session and/or commissioned basis.

In 2008, WHAT developed Ireland’s first dedicated Centre for Arts and Health in the grounds of University Hospital Waterford. In 2011, WHAT developed artsandhealth.ie with Create and funding from the Arts Council as a resource for the arts and health sector in Ireland.

In 2012, WHAT adopted a new Constitution and in recent years has been updating all aspects of governance to be fully compliant with the Charities Regulatory Authority’s Charities Governance Code.  For further information on this process and on the current Board of Directors of WHAT, click here.

Click the links below to read about WHAT’s previous work.

Annual Report 2020
Annual Report 2019
Annual Report 2018 and Financial Statements 2018
Annual Report 2017 inc Financial Statements
Annual Report 2016 inc Financial Statements
Annual Report 2015 inc Financial Statements
Annual Report 2014 inc Financial Statements
Annual Report 2013
Annual Report 2012
Annual Report 2011
Annual Report 2010
Annual Report 2009