University of Gothenburg
Kollage av bilder från Ubuntu-utställningen
Photo: Jeanette Tenggren Durkan

Ubuntu an exhibition about person-centred care

This interactive multimedia exhibition visualised the concepts behind person-centred care. Person-centred care is based on a partnership between the patient and healthcare professionals. The exhibition was shown at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra in 2012. Ubuntu means, freely translated; I exist as a result of your existence, we create each other together.


Implementing change and transforming care so that it becomes person-centred cannot be done easily. Many different both traditional and innovative methods are required to start a movement with new thoughts and actions.

Inger Ekman, then Centre director of GPCC, asked Ted Hesselbom, then Museum Director of the Röhsska Museum of Fashion, Design & Crafts, to help portray person-centred care in an interesting way. Ann-Marie Wennberg, Professor and then Area Manager at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Area 2/Östra Hopsital, made an unused corridor on ward 349 available for the project.


The purpose was that healthcare employees should be get to learn more about the central concepts of person-centred care in a pleasurable and thoughtful way, as well as to inspire healthcare professionals to reflect on person-centred care and what it means theoretically and practically. The aim was for a "through the looking-glass" experience.


The interactive exhibition Ubuntu was built in an unused hospital ward corridor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/ Östra. The fact that the exhibition was designed in a hospital setting with direct proximity to healthcare professionals as the primary target group proved to be very effective.

A cross-fertilising collaboration between skills as diverse as medicine and healthcare research, art, design, theatre, film and multimedia resulted in an amazing exhibition. The development process itself consisted of a number of very creative brainstorming meetings, where people from the museum world and the research center developed the exhibition together. The exhibition script was based on an idea of ten rooms that, in various ways, thematicised the basic ideas behind person-centred care.

The main theme was to shape the PARTNERSHIP between healthcare professionals and patients/persons, but also to highlight the unique person.

Display layout

The exhibition was set up in such a way that it could only be visited in groups at booked times and that a guide always introduced and then was on hand to "coach" if necessary during the visit, when the group, with the help of a specially created guide book, worked their way through the exhibition. Guiding as a method was central.

The guide book "Thought and idea book on person-centred care" (see as a PDF on this page, in Swedish), was distributed to all exhibition visitors as an important tool in the understanding of the exhibition messages about person-centred care. The book was produced partly as a manual for the exhibition (which completely lacked information texts) and partly as in-depth material. The book also included a free ticket to the Röhsska Museum valid for two people for a whole year, to connect with the museum.

Watch the Ubuntu film

The exhibition has also been documented in a short film. Note that the film does not reflect exactly how a viewing was performed; for example, the guide is more involved in the film than in reality, this to better explain certain aspects of the exhibition in the film. See link to the film (with English subtitles) on this page.


Two focus groups with visitors, a focus group with the guides, as well as conversations during the guided tours and notes in the form of reflections that the guides wrote down after each guided tour form the basis of the evaluation.

The guides: Although a few visitors have had difficulty absorbing the exhibition, we have generally had very positive reactions. This applies to everyone from the target group (healthcare professionals) to Sahlgrenska University Hospital's management team, via "outside" groups such as communications professionals, trade union representatives and people from the Municipality of Gothenburg.

Visitors have appreciated:

  • To be able to use all their senses in order to be affected and to experience other perspectives on healthcare.
  • To be stimulated to think, reflect and talk to each other.
  • To go outside the usual, everyday and get a cultural experience at your workplace, during working hours.

Visitor quotes

"In the moment one absorbed a lot; my brain worked for several days afterwards, with reflections. The four-bed room stirred up emotions. The whole register of emotions."

"It was really interesting. So different. It lit candles in my brain. You think all the time."

"It's strange that healthcare and art don't cooperate anymore. Health care is very close to the arts. You play theater. Similar themes; life and death. Anxiety, dreams, feelings."


Making an interactive cultural experience in the form of an exhibition in a regular ward in a large hospital in direct proximity to the target group (employees in healthcare) was an appreciated and effective way to draw attention to a new healthcare philosophy.

The work on the development and design of the exhibition and its display have many aspects. The cooperation between so many different disciplines in the development and design phase had great intrinsic value in itself; the experience of the visitors and the guides, the interaction and the individual interpretations; the interest from outside that gradually grew.

Forming working pairs of all visitors worked optimally. This both led to exchange of ideas and underlined the message of working in partnership. Ideally, those who were paired should not know each other so well before, as this increased opportunities for open exchange of thought.

The collaboration between the Röhsska Museum, GPCC and SU/Östra in Gothenburg is a practical example of how human science, art, culture and healthcare science can interact in a very fruitful way. Our work meetings became numerous, were spontaneously creative, sometimes tentative but always with a strong drive to bring this unusual project to a successful conclusion. Everyone felt that this was something unique and innovative.

The work of portraying person-centred care worked amazingly well, largely due to the extremely competent project group put together by Ted Hesselbom and Inger Ekman, and led by Jeanette Tenggren Durkan and Irma Lindström Kjellgren.

The contribution of Malin Högberg, curator at Röhsska, artist and with a life-long experience as a patient was truly invaluable and central to the exhibition. Her diaries and experiences were used for the creation of parts of the exhibition. She also worked as a guide during the exhibition.

Facts about the Ubuntu exhibition

The Ubuntu exhibition was shown from 15 March until 14 September 2012 in an unused ward (349a) at the Central Clinic at Sahlgrenska University Hospital / Östra. About 650 people visited the exhibition.

Working group: Inger Ekman, Professor of Care Science and then Center Director of GPCC, Ted Hesselbom, then Museum Director of Röhsska Museum, Eva Lidén, Pedagogue from the Department of Health Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, Axel Wolf, Researcher from GPCC, Victoria Brattström, Theatre Director and Drama Pedagogue (later GPCC doctoral student),  Malin Högberg, curator / patient voice from Röhsska, Niklas Polman, technician and exhibition technician, Kerstin Lekholm, Conservator Röhsska, Camilla Lindahl, Graphic Artist Röhsska, Malin Lejonberg artist / business owner. Gujje Palm, Puck Ahlsell and Anna Harling, Actors from Gothenburg City Theater, among others.

Project leader: Jeanette Tenggren Durkan, Coordinator for Administration, Communication, Events and Collaboration at GPCC and Irma Lindström, Researcher at GPCC.

Jeanette Tenggren Durkan was nominated in 2016 for Megafonen, an annual award for communication in public administration for GPCC's innovative communication work, and specifically for Ubuntu.

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Ubuntu, "I excist as a result of your existence, we create each other together"