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Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Commissions Strategy

Introduction to the Commissions Strategy

The Introduction to the Commissions Strategy was written by Lesley Greene at the end of the strategy development period in October 1997 and forms part of her report to the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust:

Public Art Strategy

New Bristol Royal Hospital for Sick Children

4 Commissions Strategy

4.1 Introduction

An arts strategy for a large new hospital is inevitably complex. The roles and forms of art identified from the research and examples suggest that art can:-

  • create a magical, unexpected experience for children, and parents, through the use of colour, mobiles, automata
  • add to the overall intrinsic quality and texture of the building through work integrated into the fabric of the building, its fixtures and finishes, through paint work, decorated floors, commissioned furniture
  • create an image for the building externally through sculpture, flags, lighting, and create signals internally which help people to find their way about the building
  • help occupy children and their siblings through interactive artwork, storytelling, computer games, and creative workshops
  • build relationships between the hospital and the community through artists in schools projects, and joint endeavours with community based arts organisations including exhibitions and performances
  • help relieve anxiety by contributing to treatment delivery or recovery areas, for example interactive works with speech or physiotherapy, murals in post-operative recovery rooms
  • help inspire confidence in the hospital and its staff by contributing to the aesthetic detail
  • provide symbolic local and cultural links for children and families coming to the hospital
  • attract donors and sponsors to specific artwork,and ongoing art programmes providing a specific context for the Appeals campaign

4.1.1 The commissioning strategy for the new hospital will be layered in relation to the building and the people who use the building, and will include:-

  • art integrated into the fabric of the interior design of the building, including glazing, doors, furniture, and individual spaces such as the Chapel which will be created through integrated artists commissions, to create an overall distinctive and exceptional environment
  • the development of an art collection for the hospital consisting of permanently installed works which are not part of the fabric
  • temporary art exhibitions and performances, ephemeral commissions
  • artist in residence programmes to involve patients, families and, from time to time, staff, in the creation of special projects ranging from commissioned games to digital story telling requiring intranet communications with the hospital

4.1.2 It is recommended that a number of guiding principles inform the commissioning strategy for the new hospital:-

  • that the family-centred philosophy is clearly central to the brief of every project. This may manifest itself in many ways, but consultation on designs and the child’s involvement in projects can be structured into commissions, either through a representative Arts Committee and/or residency programmes
  • equal opportunities within the context of a children’s hospital means that the opportunity for children to participate in the selection of artists will be made in addition to ensuring that there is recognition of the rights of all disabled people with regard to interpretation of and access to the project
  • Bristol serves a multi-cultural community. 4% of users are from minority cultures and recognition of their needs in relation to language, use of colour and imagery, will be acknowledged
  • quality of work and presentation will be a key consideration for the arts strategy. Selection of work will be made by a representative Arts Advisory Committee to briefing objectives and clear criteria
  • professional artists are paid design and commission fees for their work, and commission contracts agreed for all commissions and residencies. Donations of work may be accepted but it is recommended that this is at the discretion of the Arts Committee against the criteria agreed
  • that the commissions strategy is managed professionally and that this involves training of key hospital personnel and/or volunteers with regard to long term sustainability of the post-construction arts programme

The Commissions Strategy continues by presenting a fully detailed proposal for the development of the strategy, commissions plan and ongoing arts programme over a five-yearperiod. The proposal structures activities into three distinct phases, which can broadly be summarised as follows:

Phase 1 1996-97

The research and feasibility stage that is completed with Public Art Strategy report and an application for funding to the Lottery to support Phase 2.

Phase 2 1998 – 2000

Fund-raising, first phase of evaluation, recruitment of artists, commission design development, ongoing consultation with users, project work developing links to external arts organisations and schools, commissioning of integrated artwork, fabrication and installation of artwork, agreeing plans for maintenance, establishment of first residency for the new hospital, launch celebration and ongoing arts programme.

Phase 3 2001

Post completion of the new hospital: celebration event as part of grand opening, publication of evaluation findings, assess requirementsfor ongoing arts programme/collection.