July 2011

UCLH-celebrates-decades-of-therapeutic-art-and-musicUCLH celebrates decades of therapeutic art and music

Art and music have played a key role in enhancing the well-being of patients for decades. Our hospitals have benefited from the generosity and support of many famous names over the years, from opera singers and ballerinas to playwrights, actors and pop groups.  And that legacy is alive and well today in our UCLH Arts programme.

Since this imaginative programme was established in September 2005, under the watchful and creative eye of Arts Curator Guy Noble, UCLH Arts has established a reputation for organising innovative, high-quality art events and projects. Financed by charitable donations and fundraising, it has breathed new cultural life into the Trust and the surrounding community.

The aim of the programme is to make life more pleasant and less stressful for patients, relatives and visitors and enhance the working environment for the Trust’s staff. It aims to provide stimulation and variety by programming and performing visual art events that reflect people’s life experiences.
That means not shying away from the real issues people face. These have recently included a photographic exhibition featuring a patient who has lived with Parkinson’s for 30 years and an exhibition of paintings by an artist on his experiences of cancer. The arts programme is also helping to raise awareness of UCLH’s new Macmillan Cancer Centre, which is currently under construction, with the help of young London artists.

“Having a lively and innovative arts programme within the Trust is proving to be integral to the patient experience” says Guy. “I’ve received tremendous feedback about the project from patients, visitors and staff.
“The arts programme is now in its sixth year and gets busier and busier. We host about 12 exhibitions a year at the UCH Street Gallery and 33 Queen Square and we have weekly lunchtime music performances, art workshops on wards and commission site specific art works to improve the hospital environment.
“Recent evidence shows that art in hospitals has a number of positive outcomes for patients. These include reduced stress, depression and anxiety and improved clinical outcomes, such as reduced blood pressure, pain intensity and need for medication. Providing an uplifting modern hospital environment has also been shown to improve staff morale and help recruitment and retain staff.”

UCLH Arts is currently supported by the general funds of the UCLH Charity, but we hope that, over time, that the project will become self-sustaining through its own fund-raising programme.

“What is fantastic about the arts programme is how often it changes.  It is a very vibrant programme”.   Patient