Southmead Hospital arts programme celebrated in festival exhibition this weekend

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The role arts play in supporting patients, staff and visitors at Southmead Hospital is being explored at an exhibition in Bristol.

An audio tour charting North Bristol NHS Trust’s arts programme, its history, and what it means to people suffering pain, has been commissioned as part of the Feel It festival, which is being held in Bristol this week (November 17 -20).

Pain/ting Past & Present: A Soundscape of Hospital Arts and Health can be heard at the exhibition on Saturday (November 19) and Sunday (November 20).

The popular monkey sculptures outside Southmead Hospital Emergency Department

It features University of Bristol Lecturer in Modern Art, Victoria Bates explaining that there has been a link between arts and healthcare since Medieval times and how pianos were played in wards when soldiers were convalescing at Southmead Hospital during both World Wars.

Fresh Arts Programme Manager Ruth Sidgwick talks about the hospital arts programme and how some of the pieces have been created with the support of local schools and nurseries.

Sound Artist Mary Ingoldby also speaks to patients about how the arts in the hospital make them feel.

Ruth said: “This was a really exciting opportunity to be partnered with the university to show people how they can think about managing something like chronic or acute pain in a different way.

“The Fresh Arts programme is incredibly popular with the people who come into the hospital and we hope this piece helps people understand more about what it involves and how it might help them manage their own conditions.

“It is great to be able to tell the story of what we do in a different way and hopefully reach a new audience and raise awareness.

“We are excited to be part of the Feel It Festival, and hope people enjoy coming along and finding out more about what we do through Pain/ting.”

The Fresh Arts programme enhances the experience of patients across Southmead and Cossham hospitals, boosting the morale of patients, visitors and staff.

It incorporates public art around the hospital sites, exhibitions by local schoolchildren and artists and arts activities for patients and staff, such as music, knitting and painting.

Research has shown that the environment and arts can support the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors, reduce the amount of pain relief patients require and the length of time people spend in hospital.

The audio tour can be heard as part of the exhibition at Circomedia, Portland Square from 10am to 3pm on Saturday and 1pm to 2.30pm on Sunday.