UWE Bristol student photos showcase 10 years of the Brunel building

Three people stood together in front of framed photographs

A collection of striking images of staff have been captured by student photographers for an exhibition to mark 10 years since Southmead Hospital’s Brunel building opened.

Photography students from UWE Bristol spent time in the hospital taking photographs of North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) staff at work for the exhibition, which has gone on display in the atrium of the building.

Staff and services moved into the purpose-built Brunel building over a period of a couple of weeks in May 2014 and millions of patients and visitors have been through its doors over the last 10 years.

Photography students Kian Swainston, Carla Mabb and Darcy Sanchez-Mota Joao were involved in the project photographing hospital staff in different areas throughout the building.

They captured staff from a variety of departments including doctors, nurses, surgeons, therapists, domestics and catering staff, in different parts of the building, including the more behind the scenes areas that members of the public do not usually see.

Among them were staff who had been involved in the design of the Brunel building ahead of its opening in May 2014 and one of the hospital’s youngest volunteers.

The project was part of NBT’s commitment to being an anchor in the community.

A selection of the photographs are now on display in the Sanctuary Gallery in the main Brunel atrium, near the piano.

Kian said: “Photographing staff for the 10th anniversary of the Brunel building was such a great experience. I am grateful for the opportunity from UWE and the hospital to be a part of this occasion. This was a new experience for me, different from my wedding photography work.

“It feels really rewarding and nice to see the photographs displayed in the exhibition space. It brings a sense of fulfilment and pride to see our work showcased in a physical space where it can be appreciated by others in person.”

Carla said: “Working with Southmead Hospital to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Brunel building has been one of the most rewarding experiences. It has been so lovely to see all the staff working hard, always with a smile on their face. 

“We are honoured that our work is being displayed, and we are delighted to see everyone’s positive reactions to it. We hope that this reflects our appreciation for the trust and everyone who helps run the community.”

Darcy added: "I hope these images inspire people to see the community within Southmead Hospital. It’s been great to have the pleasure in being a part of such a project. "

Maria Kane, NBT Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to have strong links with our local universities and communities and were pleased to offer these students the opportunity to come behind the scenes of our hospital and capture these wonderful images of our staff.

“I hope patients, staff and visitors will enjoy taking a look at the exhibition when they are in the Brunel and agree that it is a fitting way to mark 10 years since this fantastic building opened.”

Professor Sir Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, said: “We’re delighted to have been involved with the creation of this wonderful exhibition. The partnership between UWE Bristol and NBT has created positive opportunities for our students to get real world experience delivering work for a client, while supporting an important community-based initiative. Our talented artists hope that patients, carers, visitors and staff engage and enjoy the work.”

The photographic exhibition will be on display throughout May as NBT marks the 10th anniversary of the Brunel. 

NBT will be sharing staff and patients’ experiences of Brunel throughout the month to mark the anniversary. You can share yours by emailing NBTCommunications@nbt.nhs.uk tag @NorthBristolNHS in a post on X or Instagram using the hashtag #Brunel10 or share a comment on our Facebook page.

You can find more of the Brunel 10 Exhibition Photos in the Gallery