Southmead Hospital to host second community arts festival

Monday, 24 August 2015

Southmead Hospital Bristol will welcome choirs, writers, artists and dancers to the Brunel building for its second community arts festival.

The two-day Fresh Arts Festival will take place on September 18 and 19 and will highlight the role that the arts and creativity play in supporting healthcare.

It gives local people who have not yet visited the hospital the chance to take a look inside the Brunel building and see how it was designed to be a more pleasant environment for patients, staff and visitors, incorporating art to both distract and help people relax. The festival will also showcase some of the projects that patients, staff and volunteers have been involved with inside the hospital and the local community as part of the North Bristol NHS Trust Fresh Arts programme.

The Giant Jumper installation at last year's Fresh Arts Festival at Southmead Hospital Bristol, which patients, staff and volunteers helped creat. This year a new knitted installation will be unveiled.

During the festival a large knitted installation created by local knitters will be unveiled at the hospital. There will also be the chance for people to try their hand at knitting during drop-in sessions, following on from the success of a patient knitting programme at the hospital. Writer-in-residence Sue Mayfield, who has been working with patients throughout the year, will also be helping people create poetry during the two days.

Japanese students from the University of Tsukaba will be visiting the hospital as part of a planned trip to the UK.  Their ideas for spaces for dementia within the hospital will form part of an exhibition alongside students from UWE Bristol. There will also be calligraphy sessions, origami and washi tape art from the Japanese visitors.

Artist in residence Sue Mayfield will be returning to write poetry as part of this year's Fresh Arts Festival at Southmead Hospital Bristol

Choirs from local schools, workplaces and even the hospital’s own volunteer Move Makers will perform inside the Brunel building during the two-days. There will also be a performance from local troupe the Concorde Wheelchair Dancers inside the hospital atrium.

There will be an exhibition looking back at Southmead’s history as a war hospital during the First World War featuring postcards and messages from patients who spent time on the wards.

Visitors to the festival will also be able to take part in woodworking workshops, see Bristol Arts Library and their hand-made books and take a tour and watch a film about the use of art inside the hospital.

One of the choirs performing at last year's Fresh Arts Festival at Southmead Hospital Bristol - this year's event is on September 18 & 19

North Bristol NHS Trust Director of Nursing, Sue Jones, said: “Last year’s festival was a fantastic event and so inspiring.

“It brought a real sense of community to the hospital and was so beneficial for patients.

“We’ve designed the hospital to be a healing environment, and the arts programme has made that personal for people. It is great to be able to invite people in and show them what we do as part of the festival.”

Fresh Arts Manager, Ruth Sidgwick, said: “The festival is a fantastic way of welcoming people into the hospital building and showing them that it is a healing space.”

The Fresh Arts programme is supported by Southmead Hospital Charity, which has supported some of the projects in the lead up to this year’s festival.

Head of Fundraising at Southmead Hospital Charity, Jane Ibbunson, said: “This year’s Fresh Arts festival is an exciting opportunity to share with our staff and public some of the great projects that have been funded by Southmead Hospital Charity.”

She added: “The charity is proud to support projects that have enhanced the clinical environment through arts and music which has a real impact on improving health outcomes for our patients.”

The Fresh Arts Festival is open to all and free to attend. It opens at 10am on Friday, September 18 and finishes at 5pm on Saturday, September 19.

More information and a programme of events is available here.

To book a place on the tour and film-viewing click here.

Find out more about how Frsh Arts is supported through Southmead Hospital Charity.