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Willis Newson

Art breathes ‘soul’ into a hospital building – celebrating creativity and wellbeing at Southmead Hospital, Bristol

What we do

Working with North Bristol NHS Trust for nine years, arts consultants Willis Newson delivered a programme of artworks integrated into the architecture, landscape and interiors of the new Southmead Hospital to create a welcoming and reassuring patient environment. Prior to the hospital opening in 2014, Willis Newson also delivered an arts-based engagement programme to support staff morale and ease the sometimes painful process of transition.

Willis Newson also supported the trust to set up its own ongoing arts programme, Fresh Arts. Working in partnership, it has connected the hospital to its communities, leading to an annual festival of creativity and wellbeing that reinforces the links between creativity, community, culture and care. During the 2014 Festival, local artists, writers and musicians and choirs delivered 277 performances, workshops and bedside activities to over 3,200 people. The hospital came to life, delighting patients, staff and visitors.

Willis Newson particularly meets these health challenges: patient environment and experience across acute and mental health, staff morale and wellbeing, design of environments that support people living with dementia, and wayfinding. It is keen to work with trusts across the UK.

A knitting project worked on the wards with stroke rehabilitation patients who thought their hands were too affected to knit. An hour later they produced a square for a giant jumper that went on display at the hospital.

Ruth Sidgwick, Arts Programme Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust

Special offers

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    Creative Communications Training with Magpie Dance - Save 10%
    Creative tools for improving communications with people with learning disabilities

    Creative tools for improving communications with people with learning disabilities

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  • Finding Your Compass Marketplace Training Day
    Finding Your Compass Marketplace Training Day
    Special offer on one Training Day introducing the Finding your Compass Process: £400 (plus materials and travel expenses). Usual price £600

    Finding Your Compass have devised a Training Day which is intended for use by: People setting up their...

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  • International arts and health textbook – 30% discount
    International arts and health textbook – 30% discount
    This new book shows the arts improving health in contrasting societies around the world.

    This new book shows the arts improving health in contrasting societies around the world.

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  • “Finding Your Compass” resource pack – £12 reduced to £8 (33% discount)
    “Finding Your Compass” resource pack – £12 reduced to £8 (33% discount)

    A resource pack for the Finding Your Compass arts-based mental health programme.

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