Emily Golden Twomey (Southmead Hospital)

Emily Golden Twomey, Southmead Hospital, 2014. Photo © Max McClure, courtesy of the artist and Willis Newson.


As part of the development of Southmead Hospital Bristol illustrator Emily Golden Twomey was commissioned to produce friendly and colourful wall graphics for the Paediatric Minor Injuries Unit within the Emergency Department.


Bristol illustrator Emily Golden was commissioned to enhance the Paediatric Minor Injuries Unit within Southmead Hospital Bristol’s Emergency Department, in order to improve the patient experience for younger people in a stressful and busy part of the hospital.

The development of Southmead Hospital Bristol integrated a major public art programme, featuring the work of nationally and internationally recognised artists.

Children use services within the main Emergency Department of the hospital, so there was a need to ensure that this department would be welcoming and reassuring for children and young people who may spend several hours in the space.

Emily’s brief was to create 2D wall and ceiling art which would help to:

  • Distract and entertain patients
  • Appeal to children up to 16 years of age and their carers and siblings
  • Inspire staff to use the artworks as a distraction tool
  • Be bright and colourful
  • Be accessible in content to a range of ages

Emily worked with the hospital play specialist to run creative sessions with patients to generate thematic material to inform the designs.

The resulting artworks include pictures, words, puzzles and games. There are linked colouring and puzzle sheets for the children, so that parents and staff can use the murals to ask children to seek out things or count things. This provides a tool for parents, carers and staff to use to distract younger patients.

Emily used a warm cheerful palette of colours and a distinctive retro illustration style to create vibrant large scale artworks across the department.

The artworks incorporate easily recognizable symbols and shapes - such as houses, sunshine, trees, animals – with plenty of detail to engage patients who may have longer waits.

The public art programme for the new Southmead Hospital was led by arts consultants Willis Newson, commissioned by the developers of the site, Carillion. Underpinning the project was a close collaboration between North Bristol NHS Trust and its arts programme Fresh Arts, architects Building Design Partnership (BDP), the commissioned artists, Carillion & Willis Newson.

Emily Golden Twomey

Emily is an illustrator who lives and works in Bristol. She is inspired by weird tales, nature and the imagination, and she enjoys working with colour using a mixture of digital and traditional techniques.

Emily graduated with a first class degree in illustration in 2006.

She is represented by Plum Pudding Illustration, and won the Dundee Picture Book Award in 2012 for her first children’s book ‘The Loon on the Moon’.

Southmead Hospital Bristol

Southmead Hospital Bristol is a £430m new hospital for Bristol developed by the NHS Trust and PFI developers Carillion. The hospital is an 800 bed acute hospital built on the existing Southmead site.

The public arts programme led by Willis Newson was part of the PFI initiative and built on research which clearly demonstrates the direct benefits for patients of incorporating visual and performing arts into the hospital environment.

Willis Newson

Willis Newson is a leading Bristol-based independent arts consultancy specialising in creative approaches to improving health and wellbeing.  It develops & delivers public art strategies for new builds and refurbishments,  manages public engagement programmes, offers an affordable design service for healthcare and provides advice and guidance on using art & design to create healthy environments.

Willis Newson was established in 2001 and has since carried out over 200 projects for more than 31 NHS Trusts, as well as working on projects for private healthcare clients, contractors and architects.


  • Commissioner

    North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

  • Produced by

    Willis Newson

  • Partners

    Carillion; BDP; Field Art Projects

  • Supported by

    North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Carillion