A psychiatric hospital in London has become the site for a host of artworks, in the first project by charity Hospital Rooms. Aiming to improve the well-being of mental health service users by enhancing hospital environments, Springfield University Hospital in Tooting is now home to pieces from artists including the Turner Prize winning Assemble, alongside pieces by the patients themselves.
The hospital’s newly refurbished Phoenix Unit is a psychiatric rehabilitation residential ward for patients with schizophrenia and houses up to 18 people at a time. Each artist involved with the Hospital Room project was allocated an area and worked with consultants, clinicians, occupational therapists and the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust to ensure that everything was suitable for the environment.
The inspiration behind the Hospital Rooms project, partly funded by Arts Council England, comes from artist Tim Shaw and curator Niamh White, who wanted to make a change following a visit to a friend at another hospital’s psychiatric ward.
Works by artist Sophie Clements
‘There are so many ways that creative activity can have a positive impact on wellbeing and we saw that first hand at the Phoenix Unit,’ White told Copyright. ‘We could see artists challenged to re-think their ideas; service users empowered to give opinions and insights; and staff using their skills to guide the practical and day to day requirements of the art.’
‘I am pleased we are the first mental health trust to participate in the project,’ says Springfield’s consultant psychiatrist Dr Charlotte Harrison on the Hospital Rooms website.
‘A well-decorated environment will have a very positive effect on our patients’ experience, well-being, and recovery.’
Words: Ellen White
Cover image: Mark Power & Jo Coles
You can find out more about the charity’s upcoming projects here.