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