Paintings in Hospitals is committed to supporting student mental health and nurturing emergent talent to shape the future of arts in health in the UK. In 2017, we partnered with the internationally-renowned art school Central Saint Martins for our three-year Art in Large Doses project.

As part of this project, students from the BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation course at Central Saint Martins proposed an art exhibition to support the wellbeing of patients at King's College NHS Health Centre. The proposals were showcased at the Menier Gallery, London, during Creativity and Wellbeing Week before the final selected proposal was announced.

Photo: Glenn Michael Harper

A quarter of Higher Education students experience psychological distress, associated with increased risk of anxiety and depression. And, since 2010, the number of students dropping out of degree courses due to mental illness has trebled. The Art in Large Doses project sees three consecutive years of freshmore CSM students explore ways in which art can support the physical and mental health of their peers, while also pushing the boundaries of what is expected of art in healthcare settings.

Photo: Glenn Michael Harper

The final selected proposal for 2017, Nature Calls, was chosen by patients and staff of King's College NHS Health Centre and was realised as an exhibition at the Centre from 10 November 2017 - 31 May 2018. The exhibition combined works from the Paintings in Hospitals collection with three tongue-in-cheek micro installations. The final exhibition for 2018 was Bathed in Blue, again selected by patients and staff of King's College London NHS Health Centre. 

'Cyanotype B' by Jess Reeves (left) and '100 Lengths' by Kate Wixley. Part of the Bathed in Blue exhibition, the finale of Art in Larger Doses.

Amisha Karia, Head of Collections & Programming at Paintings in Hospitals, said:

We’re really excited to be supporting emerging curators from Central Saint Martins and helping to push the boundaries of what is expected of art in our public health spaces. Using art to create care environments that encourage, enrich and empower people is key to safeguarding the wellbeing of patients, services users and care staff across the UK. We look forward to seeing the bold and original ideas of these talented students that will ultimately shape the future of arts in health.

Photo: Glenn Michael Harper

Andrew Marsh, course leader for BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins, said:

This collaboration with Paintings in Hospitals offers our students an opportunity to test ideas in front of experienced professionals. Paintings in Hospitals’ support for the project has enabled our students to consider and respond to the ever-pertinent issue of mental health and the role of artistic and curatorial production in addressing this.

Find out about the second year of this project: 'Art in Larger Doses'...