Co-produced by The Arts and Culture Programme, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Culture Weston.
On 1 April 2020, two hospital trusts joined to form University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW). Culture Weston and the Arts Programme at UHBW have worked closely together to develop new creative initiatives in Weston-super-Mare that support regional well-being and that have national impact. Re-imagining Weston’s history as a health resort for the 21st Century.
The arts are good for you, it’s official. Dip your toe in waters new, and feel refreshed!
Thousands of adult NHS patients across the UK can enjoy a dose of creativity as a new ‘Boredom Buster’ publication is launched in hospitals.
The 48-page tabloid style newspaper, inspired by the beloved Summer Annual formula, has been produced for the NHS National Performance Advisory group for Arts, Design and Heritage in Hospitals, by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) in partnership with Culture Weston.
This bumper first edition is packed with articles, activities and images designed to boost mood and alleviate anxiety and provides an individual, interactive kit of creative items. As well as reading, patients are encouraged to immerse themselves in drawing, writing, tearing and folding to make each copy their own.
‘Boredom Buster’s’ superpower is its eclectic range of contributions from famous artists, arts therapists and professional creative health specialists. The wealth of contributors include Antony Gormley, Martin Parr, Sarah Hickson, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Deller, Mark Ravenhill, Patrick Gale, Kalpna Woolf, Luke Jerram, Wayne McGregor, Manoj Malde, Dr Phil Hammond and Dr Lizzie Burns, founder of the ‘Anti-boredom Campaign’.
The ‘Boredom Buster’ Annual can be dipped in and out of and contains a variety of themed pages to creatively engage a broad demographic of adult patients, with spreads on history, art, science, poetry, writing, photography, fashion, music, dance, travel, food, outdoors and well-being.
No Summer Annual would be complete without a healthy dose of seaside air. Martin Parr’s iconic photographs bring ice cream and knotted handkerchiefs, Kalpna Woolf’s picnic pages take us to coastlines around the world, whilst the history of Donald McGill’s saucy postcards might raise an eyebrow or two.
There is plenty more besides to entertain. Play travel games, read aloud from Mark Ravenhill’s playlet, trace around your fingers, fold an origami heart or tear out Antony Gormley’s string of paper figures. Green-fingered readers can dream up their ideal garden with a bit of help from Chelsea Flower Show designer Manoj Malde, potential writers can read up on novelist Patrick Gale’s top tips or feel the flow of poetry in the NHS anthology ‘These Are The Hands’.
Line up your bedside view with Alan Lightman’s look at Symmetry; discover the secret of good health with Dr Phil Hammond’s daily prescription of CLANGERS; dance the Macarena whilst sitting down; sing along to Bastille or hum your own top Tropical tunes. Salute street artist Stewy’s artwork of NHS hero Aneurin Bevan and marvel at the Universe with Luke Jerram’s Moon and Gaia.
The ‘Boredom Buster’ newspaper is being distributed to NHS Foundation Trusts and Hospital Charities throughout the country, including Bristol, Weston, Bath, Taunton, Yeovil, Sheffield, Derby, York, Coventry, Cambridge, Oxford,Liverpool and Kent, and in London at Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London, the Royal Brompton and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
It will also be delivered to care homes in Weston, as part of Culture Weston and UHBW’s on-going Arts + Health programme in the town.
Poetry + Health
The ‘Poetry + Health’ event on 26 June 2020 celebrated the success of the These Are The Hands NHS Poetry Anthology, the first poetry collection to feature poems by NHS staff –
“A wonderful anthology to celebrate the NHS, which is itself the best poem a country has ever written” – Stephen Fry.
The online poetry evening was curated by Beth Calverley, founder of ‘The Poetry Machine’, Poet in Residence at UHBW and contributor to the These Are The Hands collection. She was joined by fellow UHBW colleagues and poets also reading their entries from the anthology.
Katrina Curtis, Respiratory Physician at UHBW and Rachel McCoubrie, Consultant in Palliative Medicine and lead wellbeing consultant for doctors and dentists, UHBW.
Other poets taking part were Helen Sheppard, a Bristol-based poet and former Neonatal Midwife also published in These Are The Hands; Dr Elizabeth Osmond, Neonatologist and facilitator of a staff creative writing group for reflective practice sessions, UHBW; Stephen Lightbown, a Bristol-based poet, champion of disability rights and Director of Comms at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and Bob Walton, a published poet who co-runs the ‘Chapter 1’ creative writing group in Weston in association with Theatre Orchard, free, open to all sessions .
“’Poetry + Health’ is a celebration of Weston and Bristol based poets who blend the worlds of poetry and health. As Poet in Residence for UHBW, I see first-hand the benefit that poetry can have on people who are isolated, anxious and unwell, as well as the joy and confidence it can bring to people from all walks of life.” Beth Calverley
The Weston Arts + Health Weekender!
This inaugural festival was a celebration of wholeness and togetherness; the joining of two hospital Trusts to form University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust on 1st April, and the launch of Culture Weston.
At at time of new beginnings and new partnerships across placemaking, the arts and healthcare, the festival looked back at Weston’s truly super history as a health resort, celebrated the many and varied opportunities to get creative that are on offer now, and looked forward to establishing Weston as a beacon for Arts and Health in the future.
The Weston Arts + Health Weekender was designed as a whole community collaboration. Creative workshops, walks and talks, performances music, medical seminars, hospital based arts activities and much more, magically mingling across the town to create a unique programme with something for everyone.
Whilst lockdown due to Covid-19 meant the festival could not go ahead in its original form, we instead launched with an online event on 3 April 2020, and events such as Boredom Buster and Poetry + Health sprung from the Weekender partnership to maintain a spirit of creative connection whatever the circumstances.
At home with culture
Many of us feel isolated and lonely at points in our lives, perhaps never more so than in these challenging times. Luckily we live in a digital age where all sorts of creative projects can be enjoyed and easily accessed from anywhere. Here is a series of short videos from some of the brilliant artists who are part of The Weston Arts + Health Weekender programme. They are mainly self-filmed on mobile phones in lounges, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. We hope they will spread a little happiness and encourage you to find pleasure in being creative at home.
In April 2021 we will be presenting ‘In Memoriam’, an artwork originally commissioned for The Arts + Health Weekender which is a temporary memorial for the public to visit and remember all those we have lost from the COVID-19 pandemic. The artwork is also made in tribute to all the NHS health and care workers who are risking their lives during the crisis.
More information here: