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Arts Council England supports initiative to install museum quality art in mental health wards

A new initiative spearheaded by arts organisation Hospital Rooms and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust will refurbish psychiatric wards in the UK with the support of Arts Council England. In a bid to improve the conditions in mental health hospitals in England, curator Niamh White and artist Tim A. Shaw are working with the Trust to commission contemporary artists and photographers, including Assemble and Nick Knight, to create work for wards and communal hospital spaces.

The launch project of Hospital Rooms will give participating artists allocated spaces within the secure residential ward for schizophrenic patients at Springfield University Hospital in Tooting, before introducing the initiative to NHS hospitals around the country.

“My colleague Tim A Shaw and I are delighted to be initiating this project with the Trust,” said Niamh White of the Hospital Rooms art project. “Our aim is to enable the creation of artwork that can have a direct and practical social impact. We hope to create a series of rooms within the unit that are engaging, beautiful and completely functional for day to day life.” 

In addition to Nick Knight and Assemble, confirmed artists for the Springfield University Hospital’s Phoenix Unit include YBA Gavin Turk and Michael O’Reilly, and landscape architect Joh Bates will redesign the courtyard and outdoor areas.

The project, which also includes a series of workshops, started in March and will be ongoing until December.

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Assemble: Granby Four Streets