Artists: Katherine Zeserson

Series: Creative Thinktanks

Ideas explored: music for health and wellbeing

Creative Thinktank

This Thinktank, co-created by CW+ (the charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Snape Maltings Creative Campus, brought together leading researchers, policy-makers, clinicians, practitioners and other stakeholders to consider physical / technological / human / natural / artistic / cultural aspects of The Future Hospital. In particular, it explored how these elements might be integrated to provide the ideal hospital environment conducive to:

  • improving patient experience and wellbeing
  • accelerating recovery
  • minimising additional health complications associated with hospital admittance

Facilitated by Katherine Zeserson, discussions embraced a wide range of perspectives, stimulating new ideas for collaborative developments in transformative healthcare.

NB: Photo above shows ceramic installation commissioned by CW+ at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, by Adam Nathaniel Furman, image courtesy Gareth Gardner

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the top ranked and top performing hospital trusts in London, providing care across two hospital sites and seven clinics to a community of over one million people. Over the past five years they have been laying the foundations to implement the next generation of healthcare – the new technologies, design and systems that will transform patient care pathways and operational efficiency. Their portfolio of next generation care projects includes:

  • The RELAX Digital programme which uses imagery and installations to distract and relax patients in waiting and treatment areas
  • New Instruments designed specifically to offer a depth of creative expression whilst contributing to a patient’s physical rehabilitation
  • MyHospital – technology enhanced patient care such as sensors to monitor light levels, acoustics, temperature, controlled from a patient’s bedside
  • An expanding digital health devices/robotic programme


Three Big Ideas

Idea 1

A Virtual Network/Advisory Group to share good practice in embedding arts/design/nature/wellbeing into existing hospital practices and environment. Ideas to include:

  • Conducting an audit of existing hospital buildings to appreciate opportunities and using them to their advantage.
  • Consulting with people with lived experience (local community, staff, patients) via walk and talk sessions and brainstorming.
  • Identifying actions that can be implemented simply and quickly – E.g. maximising views from the hospital, access to local parks, places to lie down, gardens and indoor green spaces, improvement of wayfinding, frontage of building, more planting.
  • Incorporating these aspects in working practices, staff inductions etc.
  • Considering how is all of this captured and shared with other hospitals.

Idea 2

My Body is My Data Record – encouraging individuals to feel responsibility for their own health by ‘owning’ the data about their body and medical needs/history. This could potentially be achieved through through the development of an online/mobile app, trialled with a large cohort study of undergraduate students. The ultimate aim of this would be to promote a shift in culture to one of societal responsibility, trust in data, and an increased sense of empowerment that we have the power to positively impact our own individual health and wellbeing.

Idea 3

An International Architecture Design Competition to design the future hospital. Two categories: one for architects, one for non-architects. With high profile sponsorship and patronage, the competition would:

  • Encourage non-clinical perspectives, potentially bringing in cross sector of society (e.g. school children, art students, architects, entrepreneurs, thinktank members) at concept level
  • Be widely publicised across general and specialist press (e.g, Sunday glossies, poplarist press, RIBA, FT, Architectural Review)
  • Promote cross sector working and innovations in thinking
  • Help erode tension between perceived world and new/different perspectives
I took away a wealth of new information, perspectives and thoughts and, equally importantly if not more so, introductions to a raft of exciting and engaging people.

James Philipps - Architect, Director of Murphy Philipps

It was a huge privilege to spend time with colleagues from such fascinating and diverse backgrounds. When we shared our ideas for what a future hospital looked like, I was really struck by this tension of wanting to create environments that are human scale and rooted in the real, that have a focus on wellness as opposed to illness, that can feel like learning spaces and that are a part of rather than apart from the community they serve. It felt that the role of the arts in supporting this vision was clear for us all. We talked in detail about the importance of nature connectedness and how this can work in our healthcare environments. Everyone agreed that we need everyone to take more responsibility for their own healthcare and the thinking around how to do this was fascinating. This led to conversations about connecting people better now to what their environments can already offer. My own patient and professional experiences focus on making connections between nature and art and mindfulness and I am actively involved in ways to enhance this at the Cambridge University Hospitals. I am also the eastern region representative for the newly formed LENS network which has been established to champion access to creative and cultural opportunities for all.

Ruth Sapsed - Director of Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination


Bella Eacott

Trystan Hawkins

Nicky Leach Jeremy

Loyd Stephen Marks

Terry Oliver

James Philipps

Ruth Sapsed

Nick Tyler

Marcela Vizcaychipi

Laura Wade-Gery

Sarah Waller

Suzy Willson