5 August 2010

We first met Gail Bolland back in 1992. At the time Gail was the arts coordinator for Leeds General Infirmary. It was approaching the hospitals 125th anniversary and Gail was tasked with mounting a temporary historical exhibition. To cut a long story short, we ended up creating a permanent display consisting of six photographic murals, each covering a different subject. Seventeen years later and the displays are still there and are used as part of the induction of some of the medical staff.

For over a decade we worked together with Gail on many projects. Gail’s success culminated in the forming of ‘Tonic – the arts pick-me-up” . Delivered by a team of three permanent staff, Gail was assisted by Claire Pope, (pictured with Gail – see note below) and Josie Aston.

Between 1992 and 2004 we designed and created all the promotional literature, leaflets, brochures folders etc for Tonic, along with other poster campaigns for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Along the way, promoting the 6 different heritage projects and many other visual and performing arts programmes that Tonic ran under Gail’s watchful eye. I’m sure that we speak for many other artists supported by Tonic, in wishing Gail a very happy and contented retirement in the knowledge that she expertly fundraised and delivered high quality artwork and performing arts programmes, totalling several million pounds, that are highly appreciated across the hospitals of Leeds.

You can see all the projects we worked on with Gail by clicking on the ‘locations’ tab at the top of our website and then following the links to each project.

Claire Pope went on to form the highly successful You can read about them on the new Culture and Wellbeing website

Josie Aston is the Wellcome Trust Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme and a freelance arts coordinator. We created heritage displays with Josie in Beckenham (2007) and Orpington (2009).


1 July 2010

On her retirement in 2006, Margaret sent us a postcard which has remained on our pinboard – “Many thanks for the photograph you presented to me on my retirement – which will be a lovely reminder of our work together on all the murals. They really work well and over time when I’ve been in the hospitals there is always someone stopping to read a bit or just look at the pictures. From the visit to Leeds LGI all those years ago you were a super find – Margaret”.

We first worked with Margaret in 2003 on two murals situated in the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. She contacted us after seeing the history displays we had created at the Leeds General Infirmary. We were also her first point of call for The Friarage Hospital. A year before, during the building process, it had been decided that a long wall in the hospitals central hub, was to be set aside for a heritage mural to be designed by us. The final mural shown below is our largest individual display to date, at 33ft wide x 8ft high.

Margaret’s achievements at the James Cook University Hospital are well documented. It is like visiting an art gallery full of wonderful examples, from paintings to sculpture and glass art – figurative to conceptual. It is well worth a look if you are in the area. The whole project was studied by the University of Durham and their findings published in their report titled, “Designing for Health: Architecture, Art and Design at the James Cook University Hospital”.


25 May 2010

Tom Cox has been arts coordinator at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC)  since 2004. During that time the hospital has changed dramatically with a construction of a new two phase PFI hospital. His original brief was to bring art in to the new areas of the hospital and over the years the NOC has displayed artwork by hundreds of local and national artists, hosted musicians and dancers and worked with the local community and schools to enliven the hospital.

“The NOC has a rich and interesting history and it has been a long term ambition of the hospital Chair to have a display in the new hospital telling the story of the hospital from its beginnings in 1872 to the present day. The hospital received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2009 and have been working with local schools and the Oxfordshire Health Archives to achieve this. The mural will be displayed in the main hospital atrium and will provide our patients, staff and visitors with stimulating and informative display.”

Tom Cox – May 2010


25 May 2010

Art and Participation Consultant
Former Hospital Art coordinator at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Niki Holmes is an enthusiastic, creative professional, with over ten years experience as an Arts project coordinator and creative consultant working with interdisciplinary teams. Niki has worked principally in strategic development, management, facilitation and fundraising support for varied collaborative and participatory projects in the public realm and health, enabling audience access and stakeholder engagement within Design, the Visual and Performance Arts.

Niki worked closely with Woodgate Design on the King’s Mill Hospital History Display, having proposed our work for commission to hospital Chair and Design Champion, Brian Meakin.

“I am attracted to active involvement in this sphere of the Arts by its sheer diversity and ability to bring about lasting benefits and insight for the individuals and agencies it engages. I am committed enabling successful shared creative outcomes.”

Niki Holmes – May 2010


5 November 2009

We first encountered Josie while she was working for one of our clients, Tonic, the arts programme at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Some years later she contacted us while running a hospital arts programme: ‘ArtsEnhance’ in Bromley, Kent. A new LIFT building, the Beckenham Beacon, was being constructed in the borough – a health ‘one stop shop’. Local residents were pleased to have the new facilities but sad that the name “Beckenham Hospital” would be dropped, as their local hospital had been significant, particularly when the area was bombed heavily during the Second World War.

Josie set up a history group with help from the curator at the local museum, and a radiologist on the hospital staff who kept an archive of local historical material. Current and retired staff contributed, as did members of the public and ArtsEnhance’s volunteers. Josie also obtained funding for the panels from various donations.

We have since also worked with Josie on the Canadian Hospital mural in Orpington, Kent that is to be unveiled in time for Poppy Day 2009.