Arts and mental health charity Hospital Rooms has today launched its most ambitious project to date in partnership with South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. As part of the development of two new mental health facilities at Springfield University Hospital, 20 major artworks have been commissioned to transform how hospital wards are experienced by patients and service users.
Hospital Rooms artists will lead more than 80 art workshops with patients and staff, which will go on to inform the artworks that are created. The project will forge a new path for mental health services, radically transforming how a mental health hospital can look and feel and making access to creative participation central to the culture of care at the Trust.
Director of Nursing at South West London and St George’s Sharon Spain commented, “We are thrilled to be working with Hospital Rooms to undertake this transformational project – one of the largest of its kind in the world. As we work with our partners to develop modern new facilities at Springfield Hospital, a new 32-acre park and hundreds of new homes, we are clear in our ambition to create a community with health and wellbeing at its heart.
“Research has long demonstrated the positive impact of artistic and creative expression on our mental health. This programme of work is another way we can harness the healing power of art to support mental wellbeing of those we care for, whilst giving a creative voice to our service users, and creating warm and welcoming environments that support recovery.”
Hospital Rooms has enlisted an internationally acclaimed and diverse roster of artists, many of whom put vulnerable people at the centre of their work and specialise in participatory practice. They include: Abbas Zahedi, Alvin Kofi, Andrew Pierre Hart, Bindi Vora, Harold Offeh, Hurvin Anderson, Jasmin Sehra, Jo Bruton, Larry Achiampong, Libita Clayton and Nina Royle, Linda Bell, Michelle Wiliams Gamaker, Richard Rawlins, Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, Susie Hamilton, Sutapa Biswas and Yinka Ilori.
As part of the co-production process, artists will lead numerous imaginative and adventurous art workshops at Springfield Hospital from January to June 2022. The programme will engage a wide spectrum of the community in a meaningful collaborative experience and ensure the new environments have an affinity with the people who encounter them.
Niamh White one of the co-founders of Hospital Rooms said, “We are extremely excited to embark on this project with South West London and St George’s. They acknowledge the significant role the arts can play in offering patients a sense of dignity and control in what can be a challenging time through both the environments they are surrounded by and the types of opportunities they are offered to express themselves. We hope this will be transformative in how we think about mental health spaces on a national level.
Hospital Rooms will also be hosting a special set of workshops in collaboration with the The Courtauld Gallery at their new Learning Centre in Somerset House in central London. Each artist has taken inspiration from the Gallery’s permanent collection and will lead a session that will go on to inform the artwork they create for the hospital. These workshops are free and open to anyone who has used mental health services.