An international artist is helping to shape how the region’s first children’s hospital will look and feel – creating a welcoming and joyful environment that builds trust and inspires hope in young patients and their families.
Cambridge Children’s Hospital will deliver care in a whole new way; it will bring specialist mental and physical healthcare together and deliver game-changing advances in research to detect childhood disease early or prevent it altogether. To reflect this ground-breaking approach, UK-based British Argentinian artist Amalia Pica will be creating a bespoke collection of artwork that integrates with the architecture, interior design and landscaping of the new hospital.
Amalia’s new role also reflects how arts will be vital to the Cambridge Children’s Hospital, helping to create a welcoming and joyful environment that builds trust and inspires hope in young patients and their families.
I feel passionate about open-ended play, putting children in charge and treating them as people with hopes, dreams and ideas, no matter how youngAmalia
Amalia said: “I love the remarkable idea of treating people as whole by basing a hospital on the integration of physical and mental health.
"I am honoured to be part of this team and have the opportunity to learn from patients and staff who have direct experience of spending time in hospital.
"I feel passionate about open-ended play, putting children in charge and treating them as people with hopes, dreams and ideas, no matter how young."
Amalia was selected for the role by a group made up of clinical and research staff, members of the project and design teams, the CUH Arts team, and young people and parents from Cambridge Children’s Network. Her vibrant yet thoughtful proposal centres around the idea of collage as an accessible and inclusive technique that reflects the fact that we are all uniquely different and made up from all the things that we have experienced – the good and the bad, the easy and the hard.
She explained that: “When creating a collage we always start with something."
"Because the elements are easily recognisable, these compositions can speak to toddlers learning their first words, to pre-schoolers ́ love for inanimate objects coming to life, to the interest of school age children in characters and fantasy worlds, to adolescents and young adults via the language of fantasy epics and science fiction.”
Arts humanises healthcare spaces, inspires hope, and transforms the hospital experience for patients, staff and families. Cambridge Children’s Hospital is a very special hospital, and arts has a key part to play.Natalie Ellis, Head of Arts at CUH
Ann, 16, who was involved in the selection process, said:
“The main thing I liked about Amalia's artwork is the fact that I wasn't really expecting what she portrayed, so it was a really good surprise. Her theme of collaging was great and I loved the colourfulness.
"She also made it clear that she wanted children's co-operation and ideas when generating the designs which seemed a great way of keeping it inclusive and representative from the children's side.”
Creativity is also key to the design and development of the new hospital, with the CUH Arts team leading a number of workshops to engage patients and staff and work on designs for bedrooms, landscaping and school provision.
Natalie Ellis, Head of Arts at CUH said:
“Arts humanises healthcare spaces, inspires hope, and transforms the hospital experience for patients, staff and families. Cambridge Children’s Hospital is a very special hospital, and arts has a key part to play.
“It is so exciting to be awarding this first commission to Amalia Pica – a leading artist in her field, with an amazing portfolio. Amalia impressed the panel with the level of thought and research that had gone into her proposal – she demonstrated such passion for the hospital’s mission to integrate physical health, mental health and research, and to tell this story through art. I have no doubt that Amalia’s artwork will match the world-class care that this hospital will provide.”
Dr Rob Heuschkel, clinical lead for Cambridge Children’s Hospital and chair of the Arts Steering Group said:
“Arts will play a central role in our new hospital, helping to create a welcoming, joyful and enchanting environment that will instil trust, and inspire hope in the families who visit.
"We are all very excited to see what Amalia creates!”