Southmead Hospital Art Project Case Study

Early in the construction of Southmead Hospital

Its not everyday as a medical artist, that you are asked to be part of a building project by Carillion, at a Hospital redevelopment site situated at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. With a brief to produce two very large traditional watercolour paintings over one meter high, to eventually be a permanent fixture displayed in the new hospital foyer.

The purpose of producing such paintings was the brainchild of Davis&Jones. Davis&Jones were formed in 2009 as a collaboration between artists Deborah Aguirre Jones and Eleanor Wynne Davis. Awarded two major commissions with Bristol City Council and North Bristol NHS Trust, to work with communities within Bristol and most importantly work with the redevelopment team at Southmead Hospital.

So we were chosen by Davis&Jones. As socially engaged artists, their purpose and collaboration is to create communication through art projects. Their aim at Southmead was to aid all those working at the hospital and building site, by keeping communications flowing to help over come any issues that such a large building project might bring. This kind of organised engagement between all parties, through exploring ways of connecting and keeping communications open between the developments was done through creating artworks, occasions and having open dialogues. Not only an enjoyable aspect for staff, but a side effect that helped keep up staff morale through all the change and upheaval. Culminating with a gift to all those involved with the redevelopment, which would be the two paintings, to mark these historical changes at Southmead Hospital.

Glazing being finished with the help of a cherry picker

So having taken on the challenge, our outline was to use the skills of a traditional medical artist, and using anatomy with a combination of the experiences gathered through site visits with the Bristol hospital and Carillion construction plc. The site visits involved spending time in surgery watching an arthroscopy of the knee, and spending time on the construction site, wearing protective clothing and learning about the massive administration of totally redeveloping three hospitals into one. The final piece of my involvement was the unveiling of the two watercolour artworks, containing an unusual mix of traditional anatomical drawings with the hospitals own new architectural features, at the end of February 2012.

Joanna, Eleanor and Deborah from Davis and Jones Joanna and surgeon
Joanna at the unveiling of her paintings

Body-Builders for Southmead NHS Hospital

The Body Builders

A Joint Operation for Southmead NHS Hospital

A Joint Operation


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