After 40 years of constant use and treating some 6,500 patients a year, Bristol’s Haematology & Oncology Centre (BHOC) was in need of a refresh by 2009. Willis Newson was commissioned to devise and deliver a public art strategy for the refurbishment. This was an exciting and timely opportunity to make a real difference to the experience of patients. The resulting artworks are all inspired by the theme of ‘a sense of place’ and most reference familiar locations and local landmarks in and around Bristol.
Robin Blackledge has helped create a welcoming and uplifting environment in the main reception and waiting areas with works including vinyl graphics on the revolving door and bespoke table-tops featuring stories and memories from patients and staff. Robin also designed vinyl graphics to help orient visitors on walls in lift lobbies and light boxes for the ceilings of patient lifts. He also created two photographic series and large photographic vinyl images for clinical treatment areas.
Bristol-based architectural stained glass artist Stuart Low’s bright and colourful glass works bring light and interest into the formerly drab main stairwell. Carole Innocent of Innocent Fine Art has curated a collection of paintings and photographs featuring familiar locations in and around Bristol; displayed in key treatment areas, these help create a less clinical, more homely and familiar atmosphere.
The refurbishment work, including the public art programme, was made possible thanks to the success of a £1.6m appeal by Above & Beyond, the local charity which raises funds for all Bristol’s central hospitals.
Willis Newson is a leading Bristol-based independent arts consultancy specialising in creative approaches to improving health and wellbeing. It develops public art strategies for new builds and refurbishments, develops and manages public art plans and public engagement programmes, delivers training for artists and performers in healthcare settings and provides advice and guidance on the design and implementation of projects to promote healthy environments and improve health and wellbeing.