Stained glass detail from a Macmillan project in Hereford, by artist Tamsin Abbott

Onward Arts is the ongoing arts programme for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. It grew out of the Trust’s Art Advisory Group, which formed in 1994, and  manages commissions and arts projects across the hospital.

Onward Arts seek to improve the experience of patients, visitors and staff and create a healing hospital environment for all.

Passionate about arts in health, they advocate the value of integrating the arts into the culture of the Trust and deliver high quality, patient-centred, arts projects in partnership with the communities the hospital serves.

CONNECT will act as a catalyst for further development of the 3Ts Onward Arts programme in three ways:


A dedicated space has been designed into the hospital where patients, staff and the wider community can take part in creative activities to support health and wellbeing.

Everybody can testify to the feel-good effects of participating in the arts whether it’s joining a book group, singing in a choir or watching live performance.

Participation in arts projects has also been shown to improve clinical outcomes in specific conditions, including dementia, respiratory problems and mental health issues.

Lady Nade Trio performing to patient Ellie Lane on the ward at the 101 NBT Fresh Arts Festival at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK. September 2015. Picture by Clint Randall

Live music at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, part of the Fresh Arts programme


Specially designed areas will be used for changing exhibitions by local artists, community and school groups, curated and managed by Onward Arts.

The exhibition programme will ensure that there is a lively backdrop throughout the year, making people notice and engage with their surroundings, engaging patients and acting as a very public advocacy tool for the ongoing arts programme.


The festival will support the transition from the old hospitals to the new. It will be the culmination of several art projects that have taken place during the development of the new building and will involve a wider network of local partners, connecting the hospital with its communities and creating community at the heart of the hospital.

The Onward Arts Festival aims to:

  • Build sustainable partnerships between BSUH and its local communities
  • Promote a sense of ownership and civic pride, both of the arts programme and the hospital itself
Writer Sue Mayfield talking to Mooi Sivajoti and her children Divina 8 and Ruben 10. She then compiles a 14-word ‘lifeline’ poem, which they can then keep. 101 NBT Fresh Arts Festival at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK. September 2015. Picture by Clint Randall

Image: A writer in residence as part of the Fresh Arts programme at Southmead Hospital, Bristol


Onward Arts is the ongoing arts programme for the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Find out more on our Partners page.