Artwork within Birmingham Children's Hospital

EnjoyArt is the Arts Programme at BWC. We are a BWC charity-funded participatory and environmental arts programme, with on-site creative activities and events for children, families and staff and commission site-specific art and design to improve and enhance the environment of our BWC buildings.

EnjoyArt provides opportunities for patients, families, staff, and the wider community to engage in a wide range of creative activities and enjoy cultural experiences, helping improve the experience of being in hospital. We aim to provide unique opportunities that reflect the diversity of BWC patients, visitors and staff and work with skilled artists and cultural partners to inspire creativity and learning. We work with artists to transform hospital spaces into therapeutic environments.

An outdoor area at Birmingham Children's Hospital wit a rainbow canopy and seating

Our EnjoyArt team commissions artists and designers who work closely and co-design with patients, service users and staff to carefully develop bespoke artworks to support the complexities and individual needs of the hospital surroundings, and create relaxing, less clinical spaces. We also work in partnership with academic institutions to undertake research that is both informed by and demonstrates evidence towards finding efficient, sustainable, and creative ways, with a focus on the improvement of children and young people's lives during hospitalisation through the performing arts.

Why is art important?

Holistic healthcare is much more than meeting medical needs.

Key research has shown that:

  • Art eases anxiety, stress and depression for both patients and care staff
  • Art shortens patients’ length of stay in hospital
  • Art reduces patients' need for painkilling medication
  • Art increases carer morale
  • Art improves communication between patients and carers
  • Art improves the overall experience of the care environment.

Regular participatory provision

We offer various live art experiences, including visual artists, performers, dancers, musicians, storytellers, writers, and other creative fields including; Singing Medicine, Giggle Doctors, B’Opera, Rhythm Time, Music Therapy, POD magicians. In addition to this, we also host one-off visits and performances from musicians, travelling theatre companies, ballet dancers, etc.

Isaac smiles while holding up his drawing of a rainbow

Support from BWC Charity

Mark Brider, CEO of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, said:

“We are extremely proud to support our Trust’s innovative EnjoyArt programme, which connects patients, families and staff to arts and creative projects to help enhance hospital experiences.

“There is overwhelming evidence arts can improve the wellbeing of patients and families by easing anxiety and stress, which in turn can reduce the length of a patient’s hospital stay. Our charity therefore strives to make our hospitals warm and welcoming, creating calm and soothing spaces where our patients and families can feel safe and our staff proud to work.

“From championing local artists who create new and relaxing spaces to artistic performances and creative pursuits, EnjoyArt is funded entirely thanks to charitable donations.

“To help us to continue to inspire, engage and entertain our patients, families and staff please donate or find out more via our website

Current projects

Lavender House – mural design in progress, in collaboration with patients and staff

Please email J.vyse@nhs.net or russell.anderson1@nhs.net if you have any queries, concerns or offers to do with arts at the hospital.

Magical Journey

Artwork mural along the wall at Birmingham Children's Hospital

A co-design project to create a ‘Magical Journey’ for everyone who enters Waterfall House, using art, to enhance the environment and improve wayfinding.

A procurement tender process saw the recruitment of Lucentia Design to the project, which started in late 2020. The project has been funded by BWC Charity and Oncology Charity and has been managed by Janette Vyse, Arts Programme Lead.

We wanted to use artwork to create a sense of security, reduce anxiety and aid well-being; offer a comforting distraction from the stress of hospital visits and treatment, and provide stimulus to engage children and young people during their hospital visit or stay.

Artwork mural along the wall at Birmingham Children's Hospital

As we reach the final stages of the project, the project will reach its grand finish in the next few months, we are proud to celebrate what we have achieved.

The project has been a truly collaborative and participatory one, with children, young people, and families at the heart of design throughout.

The completed artworks will inspire activity books which we hope will in turn support BWC Charities' work to support future projects to improve patient experience.

Child's drawing of a snowman, ice cream, pizza and panda

We hope this project and the things we have learnt will inform the proposed plans to improve wayfinding across the rest of the main hospital and other sites too.

Words from Stella Correll, Creative Director

The Magical Journey Arts Project has been a delightful experience to date with its extensive creative engagement with children and young people.

This process of putting the service user at the heart of our work is fundamental to make relevant artworks that will stand the test of time.

It is and continues to be a huge inspirational steer on our developing ideas and designed artworks.

We have created a distinct wayfinding identity for Waterfall House with its pencil signage, rainbows and fun facts which lead you to the different departments over four floors.

Each department also has its own identity from creating uplifting designs for in-patients, captivating designs for long waits before theatre to fun out-patient designs.

Holly smiling and holding her artwork piece

The images show selected artworks alongside bed bay curtain designs we created for both in-patient Ward 18 and Out-patients 2 and 3.

These were initially prompted through conversations with children and young people about all the things they might like to be or like to do.

As you can imagine we had such varied responses and some amazing conversations and stories along the way.

This led us to create a super multi-world design for out-patients to dip in and out of adventures while having their treatment.

For outpatients, we created a calm outdoor design to explore and take thoughts away from being in the hospital environment.

A huge thank you to all the amazing children and young people who inspired our artwork designs to date, to YPAG and Think4Brum for their support and guidance and to all staff involved.

Damien Hirst Artwork

In 2020, British artist Damien Hirst released two limited-edition rainbow prints to show support for the NHS in the Coronavirus crisis. The work is made up of bands of coloured butterfly wings, one of the artist’s best‐known motifs. A limited edition of the work was produced with all profits donated to NHS Charities Together and The Felix Project, raising a total of £1,508,172.  Damien decided to donate some of the prints to some UK Trusts and we are pleased to say we were one of the Trusts to be chosen.

Damien Hirst's Butterfly Rainbow

The limited-edition Butterfly Rainbows is now proudly on display in the main corridor at our Children’s Hospital opposite our very own rainbow corridor. The beautiful piece of art brightens up the corridor and we hope it will bring joy to our patients, families, and staff as they pass by.

Damien Hirst's Butterfly Rainbow

Roald Dahl Stained-Glass Windows

Roald Dahl is one of the world’s best-loved authors. In 2019 we were honoured to work with Mrs Felicity Dahl to bring the magic of his stories to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Photo of Roald Dahl artworks

Our beautiful Roald Dahl stained glass windows take pride of place in the entrance to Waterfall House, our Children’s Cancer and Rare Diseases Centre.

Renowned for his much-loved illustrations, Sir Quentin generously donated his original drawings to enable us to create the windows which feature many of the most well-known characters from Roald Dahl’s children’s books, including The BFG, The Enormous Crocodile, and The Twits.

Funded entirely by charitable donations, we hope that our windows will inspire our young patients to read and enjoy literature, generate conversations, distract from difficult and upsetting situations and provide a stimulus for learning and self-expression.

We were delighted to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to our hospital in January 2020 to unveil the windows in a special ceremony with our children, families and staff.

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall unveiling our art