CW+ hosts National Arts in Hospitals Network meeting at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

CW+ was pleased to host the first-in-person meeting of the National Arts in Hospitals Network (NAHN) on 2 May at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The CW+ Arts in Health Team welcomed NAHN members, including arts in healthcare professionals working in hospitals across the UK, for the inaugural meeting of the network.

NAHN provides much-needed support, including offering a place to share best practice, build knowledge and celebrate success, as well as representing the sector at a national level and providing networking opportunities to hospital arts programmes in the UK and beyond.

The successful event covered two key areas of work. ‘Advocating for Wellbeing-Focused Design’, looked at the sector’s role in influencing and improving healthcare design through the lens of wellbeing. This included Carlos Peñalver talking about his experience of being a commissioned artist at the hospital. A second session, ‘Creative Health: The role participating in creative health activities has to play in improving wellbeing and social engagement for the hospital community’, included a showcase of different elements of the CW+ Arts for All programme such as the CW+ Artists in Residence programme, CW+ Studio and art therapy.

Other activities included tours of the hospital artwork collection, live drawing by Natalie Yu, a medical student on elective as one of our Artists in Residence, and a CW+ lunchtime performance by the Rhythm Studio Foundation.

There was also a chance to take part in an Arts for All workshop involving music making, puppetry and kick boxing. In addition, Foster + Partners exhibited its recent design innovations including ‘Inner Peace’, which was created for the London Design Biennale. The immersive textured fabric has integrated lighting and music, and responds to the emotions of the user via an EEG headset.

Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director at CW+, said: ‘We were delighted to host the first NAHN meeting at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. It was a joy to meet so many people who share our passion for the arts and the positive effects it can have on staff and patients. We offer a wide range of creative health initiatives through our Arts in Health programme, and it was great to share our experiences and highlight our work through the event. We would like to thank NAHN, a strong national voice, for working closely with national arts in health stakeholders to represent and promote the sector at a national level.’

NAHN has recently integrated with NHS Charities Together, resulting in an expansion of the network to cover all four UK nations, supporting the growth of arts and culture in many more hospitals. During the event, attendees were able to find out more about the NHS Charities Together Member Connect service, which offers support, recommendations and resources to members, including on arts and culture in hospitals.

Laura Waters, co-chair of the National Arts in Hospitals Network, said: ‘A big thank you to CW+ for hosting this first meeting, which has been really well attended. It’s a great start to our year and we are looking forward to bringing many new exciting opportunities to members including taking part in new research, creating guidelines for the sector, international collaborations and lots of networking and sharing of best practice through our new partnership with NHS Charities Together.’

Ellie Orton OBE, CEO of NHS Charities Together, said: ‘We are delighted that the inaugural in-person National Arts in Hospital Network meeting was such a success. We want to thank CW+ for hosting the event at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which provided a fantastic opportunity to come together to share best practice and showcase some of the creative therapies on offer. We’ve known for a long time how powerful different types of arts therapies are in terms of improving the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and communities.

‘Funding for the arts managers working in UK hospitals would not be possible without our member charities, which is one reason why we are excited to be welcoming NAHN into the NHS Charities Together family. With their vision and our network of expertise and funding, we are really looking forward to continuing to grow and giving our members the opportunity to learn from each other.’ 

After the event there was a private view hosted by University College London Hospital’s (UCLH) Arts and Heritage of HOMELANDS: an exhibition of Landscapes by Lydia Bauman at The Street Gallery, UCLH.