Nottinghamshire Healthcare: Art and Interiors

Creative consultation workshop with mental health service users in Nottingham

We are working in partnership with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to deliver an integrated Arts & Interiors strategy for their new family friendly 'Campus'.

The Trust is one of the largest integrated NHS providers in the country providing a diverse range of physical, mental health and forensics services at local, regional and national levels and across all ages.

It is leading the way in young people’s mental health services by bringing together inpatient Children’s, Young People’s and Family (CYP&F) and Perinatal (Mother and Baby) mental health services with community child and adolescent mental health services on a single site to create a child and family friendly ‘campus’. 

The new site will include:

  • A new inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health 24 bed unit, with a new 8 bed Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
  • An Education Unit
  • A new Mother and Baby inpatient 8 bed unit, and new outpatient facilities for mothers and their babies from the City and South County.

Willis Newson’s role is to deliver a strategic and integrated approach to art and interiors, including:

  • A naming strategy for the site and buildings which builds on consultation and a naming competition already carried out by the Trust
  • A design philosophy or vision for the building as a whole which will guide and inform art and interior design decisions taken throughout the project
  • Proposals and locations for art within the new buildings
  • Interior design integration proposals

We are working in collaboration with the architects Gilling Dodd to create a cohesive strategy informed by creative consultation workshops with service users.

Creative Consultation

In August we recruited artists from different backgrounds to deliver creative consultation workshops with a range of service users, staff and families.

The aim was to involve participants in the creative process of developing a shared vision and principles for the site, coming up with ideas and narratives for the new buildings and exploring the needs of different service user groups.

The workshops offered the participants an opportunity to have direct input into how the buildings will look and feel from the inside.

Consultation and engagement with NHS mental health service users

The consultation took the form of creative writing workshops with poet Anne Holloway (Co-Director of East Midlands-based group Mouthy Poets), and making workshops with artist Ali Brown and Nottingham sculptor Raphael Daden.

The workshops were designed to engage participants of all ages, to be playful and fun, with space for everyone to speak and contribute and no 'right' or 'wrong' contributions.

Staff also participated in the workshops alongside service users to create a sense of equality and to offer support if required.

The writing workshop looked at the naming strategy for the centre, with participant responses showing that naming was seen as an important element of belonging and that nature and the outdoors were themes which resonated.

Participants at all three days of workshops had strong feelings about the kinds of names they would prefer. The name should inspire a sense of calm/tranquility, a positive space, a space in which to recover and grow.

The making workshop picked up on outcomes from earlier consultation with service users in which nature featured heavily, and also linked in to the area surrounding the new site - enclosed in trees.

Artists Raphael & Ali asked participants to think about their experiences of trees, woods, orchards and forests. To remember favourite places and experiences and to use that inspiration to build a den and transform the room into a sensory space.

Art & Interiors Strategy

From these insights the Art and Interiors Strategy will be developed which will aim to create a holistic approach to the naming of the site, the interior design and the creation and positioning of artworks throughout.


The facade is an efficient modern skin over the top of the existing structure, made of powder-coated aluminium and glass which will be easy to keep clean.