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Oxford Children's Hospital

Loom to the Moon

This large-scale interactive artwork for young patients extends across the glazed frontage of the atrium to create a colourful welcome to the Children's Hospital.

Child by large glass window playing with colourful cogs embedded in the glass

It incorporates 22 decorative vinyl panels, and two giant acrylic boxes containing over 200 acrylic cogs. Young patients can turn handles to make the network of cogs turn, and take part in a 'treasure hunt' to find characters and objects made of loom bands - from minions to footballs and racing cars - embedded within the cogs and hidden within the artwork.

The artwork has been created from loom bands collected by Skye Hall, a young patient battling an aggressive brain tumour, who had a vision of creating a loom band to reach the moon. His quest for loom bands went on social media and by 2015 a 30,000m long loom band was created by thousands of children across the world who made loom bands and sent them to him.

The artwork has been created by artist Jane Watt who was commissioned to create an artwork for the Atrium using Skye's loom bands. She developed the artwork through workshops with children from Oxfordshire Hospital School and Rush Common School whose loom band imagery has been incorporated into the final design.

Loom to the Moon has been funded by the children's brain tumour charity, Blue Skye Thinking with the aim of providing intrigue and distraction for young patients.

This will be a wonderful lasting legacy in the Children's Hospital and I feel very honoured to have been a part of it... It is great that children are able to interact with the installation. Erica Watson, Senior Play Specialist

Children's Day Care

A colourful programme of artwork by Stephen Smith has been developed for the Day Care ward. It includes animal/bird icons to personalise each bed space, artwork for the waiting area and decorative signage to aid wayfinding.

Bright wall panels in a play room, play house and computer screen below

I've received very positive feedback on the artwork from both parents and families as well as many staff members. Philippa Dunn, Play Specialist


This five-storey wall painting was created by internationally renowned artist Michael Craig-Martin and designed specifically for the Community Atrium.

He describes his thinking behind the work; "My principal aim has been to transform the bleak view from the windows of the children's wards facing into the atrium. The great height of the wall opposite has made it possible to create an image of immense scale, a highly coloured interplay of objects and giant letters spelling KIDS. I hope it will create a sense of pleasure and wonderment and act as a stimulus to the imagination of all, but particularly for those children confined to the wards, the only place where it will be possible to see the painting properly, at eye level and head-on."

Artwork on routes to theatres

Lilly and Jonathan: when children become galaxy riders and deep-sea divers

The journey to an operating theatre for surgery can be very stressful for a child and their parents. A photographic installation by the German artist Jan von Holleben, hopes to make this experience less traumatic for young patients at the Children's Hospital with artwork specifically designed to distract them from their fears.

In Spring 2011, Jan was selected to develop new artwork for the two long corridors leading from the wards in the Children's Hospital to the operating theatres, as well as for the ceilings of anaesthetic rooms and recovery bays, and decorative screens.

The artist spent a week as artist in residence in the hospital speaking to doctors, therapists, play specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, porters, patients and their parents to understand the experience of a patient's journey to theatre and to capture ideas from young patients. His dialogue with staff continued for a further two months to develop a proposal for the artwork. The final production took place in his studio in Berlin last August with the help of nine children.

And so, the story of 'Lilly and Jonathan' was born - an installation made up of over 350 individual photographs creating more than 40 composite panels.

The series tells the adventures of two friends, Lilly and Jonathan, who go on two fantastic journeys. In the first they leap across the countryside and use their magical powers to fly into space; in the second they dive underwater without any effort or special equipment to discover a magical undersea world. Along the way Lily and Jonathan meet other children and together explore an exiciting dreamworld of galaxy games and underwater dances.

The panels are installed in the corridors between children's wards and hospital theatres, on the ceiling of all anaesthetic rooms to distract children and adults just before they go through for surgery. This way, the children can drift away into fantastic stories as the anaesthetic takes effect. Further images are installed on the ceilings of recovery bays and on screens dividing bays to engage patients as they come round from surgery.

This project has been entirely funded through charitable donations for art projects from Firefly Tonics, the Fund for Children, the League of Friends and supported by Kwickscreen.

Helen Care, Clinical Psychologist at Oxford Children's Hospital, said: "The images are so useful to me in my work with children when preparing them for theatre.

"I often work with more anxious children in my role as psychologist with the cleft and craniofacial surgical teams and co-ordinate with the play specialists in helping children manage the process of going for procedures.

"Having the pictures to talk to them about the help prepare them and normalise some of the process is brilliant.

"I also think the stories Jan has chosen to tell, of children going off on a journey which can so easily mirror the child's own journey into the anesthetic room, is a lovely way of helping children to construct their own stories about the process they are going through."