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Cultural Space Is An Art Form

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Otac Square
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The new CW+ Studio, a bespoke multi-functional art and cultural space at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, is part of the hospital charity CW+'s award-winning performance and participatory programme Arts for All.

Construction on the CW+ Studio was completed in March 2020 and the space was equipped to become a hub of cultural activity for the hospital community. However, at the onset of the pandemic, the in-person participatory arts programme moved online, and the CW+ Studio was temporarily transformed into a wellbeing hub for staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, open 24 hours a day and providing a welcoming environment for staff to relax, reflect and refuel.

The CW+ Studio was designed and built according to accessibility and design principles set out in the CW+ Design Standards Guide as well as those governing good practice in building better environments for patients and staff. Working with Ensigna Construction Ltd, CW+ has achieved a design that delivers the following key elements:

  • Dementia-friendly design
  • The CW+ Studio is accessible for wheelchair users using the ramp at the entrance
  • Meets hospital requirements; accessible toilet, air handling, fire safety
  • Adjustable lighting
  • Integrated sound system
  • The Polysafe flooring is designed to be anti-slip, and waterproof while still maintaining a natural finish
  • Adaptable lighting so visitors can tailor to their preference
  • The colour palette used has a contrast of 30LRV
  • Kitchen facilities
  • 100m2 of dedicated floorspace to facilitate group workshops and events

The space has the capacity to host a full range of activities and support the delivery of patient and staff facing sessions led by musicians, visual artists, creative movement specialists, and art psychotherapists.

As we emerge from the pandemic, the CW+ Studio will initially launch with a hybrid programme of online activities and events alongside small-scale 'live' participatory events, programming, and workshops. Long-term, the CW+ Studio will host a varied programme including artist/musical residencies, health related support groups, and carers support for inpatients, outpatients and hospital community.

"Our ambition is to offer the best possible care during a hospital admission and to support people to stay well in their communities once discharged, by fostering healthy ageing and encouraging social engagement," says Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director at CW+. "With the bespoke CW+ Studio space, we are able to deliver an engaging, inclusive, active and connected programme that will have far reaching health and social benefits for participants and the communities in which they live."

Through a co-designed community approach, the CW+ Studio and arts programme expect to reach 24,360 residents (inpatients and outpatients), over 7,000 carers, through 1,128 activities over three years.

In order to carefully evaluate the impact of the Studio and the arts programme, they are working with the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health on an evaluation framework to research the impact on the health and social outcomes for their community, using a pragmatic mixed methods approach to address the impacts of creative engagement and to ensure full participation for those who may experience challenges in communication. Underpinning all their work is an objective to grow a robust body of evidence that clearly demonstrates the impact on patient outcomes, care delivery and the cost effectiveness of their work.

Find out more at CW+

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