Patients choose artists for new Cancer Centre at Guy's Hospital


Posted on Thursday 28 November 2013
Cancer patient representative, Lis Lawrence

Lis Lawrence - one of the patient representatives who helped pick the artists

Cancer survivors have helped select artists including Turner Prize nominee Angela Bulloch to work on commissions for a new £160 million Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital.

The artists were chosen by interview panels which included patients and staff.

They have been commissioned to enhance the healing environment and improve cancer patients’ experience of their care. Their work forms an integral part of the new Cancer Centre which has been designed by internationally renowned architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners – it is due to open to patients in 2016.

 The artists are Angela Bulloch, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997, designer Gitta Gschwendtner who has experience of large scale public works, and Mariele Neudecker who is best known for her sculptures.

Angela Bulloch says: “It is my pleasure to be involved in such an important project. I think that improving the environment is something we should all aspire to. I look forward to working with all the people who give Guy’s Hospital an excellent reputation.”

Lis Lawrence, a patient representative on the interview panels which chose the artists, says: “Patients, particularly those whose treatment spans months or even years, are keen observers of how things work or don't work in practice.

“Staff are the day-to-day providers of this care and together our combined input to the design of the Cancer Centre should ensure a better environment for the future.

“The arts provide something to occupy the time, to stimulate ideas and discussion, and to provide calm and areas of contemplation not normally found in hospital environments. They can also help to reduce patients’ anxiety.”

Kylie Gyertson, Cancer Clinical Trials Manager and a staff representative on the interview panels, says: “I believe the arts programme can uplift and inspire staff who will be working in the new Cancer Centre.

“It’s really important that patients and staff have been involved in choosing the artists, as well as the design of the new Cancer Centre as a whole, because it is our building – it belongs to the patients and staff. You wouldn’t ask a stranger to pick a painting to hang in your living room.”

Dr Maj Kazmi, Clinical Director of cancer services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “Throughout the development of our new Cancer Centre, we have asked patients to help us to design the facilities in which their treatment will be provided and we have also consulted staff every step of the way.

“Ensuring patients and staff had their say in choosing the artists whose work will form an integral part of the new Cancer Centre was really important to us.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity has provided a grant of up to £1.7 million for visual and performing arts in the new Cancer Centre. This means that no NHS funds will be required to support the arts programme.

Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of the Charity, says: “We believe that the arts can transform the healthcare environment for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors which is why we have funded this crucial aspect of the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s.

“We are delighted to be working with artists of the highest quality who are committed to creating a special healing environment and that patients have been so centrally involved throughout the development of the arts programme.”

Find out more about the artists selected and art in the new Cancer Centre.

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