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Creativity in health settings

Findings from our work at Great Ormond Street Hospital

GOSH Arts is the arts programme at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH). Through participatory activities, art commissions and temporary exhibitions, they work to inspire creativity, create welcoming environments, and offer meaningful cultural opportunities across a variety of art forms for patients, families and staff alike.

We were commissioned by GOSH to conduct a small-scale evaluation of how patients, visitors and staff interact with the visual art displayed in public spaces within the hospital. This focused on two key aspects of people’s experience: level of engagement and perception of impact. We found:

  • Despite the obvious distractions of visiting or working within a hospital, 81% of our sample were highly engaged with the visual arts displayed in the hospital. Families of patients, staff members, as well as visitors notice the art on the walls often or every time they visit the hospital. We have calculated that there are around 151,000 observations to the artworks every year
  • Families of patients, staff members and visitors find the artworks conducive in creating a positive hospital environment. More specifically they agreed or strongly agreed that the artworks are welcoming (100%), interesting (98%) and playful (98%).

This research lies within a broader body of work BOP has been involved with in the past - from the evaluation of the GRIDA Arts Strategy for Guys and St. Thomas’ Charity and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in 2016, to the current evaluation of performing arts programmes produced by Breathe Arts Health Research.

Results from this body of work widely demonstrate the positive impact creativity can have in both mental and physical wellness of individuals. When the artistic practices can create a genuine connection between the artefact, the individual and its community, creativity positively effects the wellbeing of ourselves and the one of people around us. More specifically, our findings demonstrate that quality creative artefacts are able to trigger and develop fundamental human experiences, such as empathy, the creation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships, the management of emotions, as well as the creation of a self-care practice.

- Marta Moretto, Researcher