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Artist creates a 'Mini' haven

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An ENT treatment room in the John Radcliffe Hospital's West Wing has been transformed into a beautiful woodland glade full of characterful birds, animals and insects by artist Mini Grey.

The art project was developed by artlink, the hospital arts programme, in response to a request from Jo Pinney, a Senior Play Specialist in Oxford University Hospitals' ENT and Plastics Department. Jo was concerned that the room, which is mainly used for treating children, felt very clinical, and could be a bit intimidating for the young patients.

She says: "I work in this room every day, and it's going to make such a difference to the children using it. The room now looks very inviting, and the wildlife in the illustrations is a great talking point."

Children's book creator and artist Mini Grey was commissioned for the project, and her brief was to make artwork that could entertain child patients and provide a distraction. Her illustrations are full of suggested narrative and gentle humour. The room has no windows, so the mural also acts like a window into nature.

Mini says: "We wanted the animals to be recognisable wildlife, and we've made 'Spotter's Guides' to be printed so children can find out what the animals are called, and hopefully begin to spot them in the outside world. It's great to see everything up in the ENT treatment room, and the VGL people [who printed and installed the vinyls] did a lovely job."

The children coming into the room are often in stressful situations, for example having accidentally placed something into their ear or nose which needs to be removed. If they are calm and distracted a doctor can more easily remove these objects without causing damage to their ear drum - saving them from the experience of a general anaesthetic, which is always desirable.

Specialist Registrar Victoria Sinclair says: "It really has completely transformed the place, and for some reason also makes it feel much bigger. I run a tongue-tie clinic with very small babies in that room, and I think it is a space that even these patients will appreciate, and that I know will help keep the anxiety levels down in the parents having to put their brand-new child through a procedure."

The project was funded by Oxford Hospitals Charity as part of 'artlink', the hospital arts programme which uses the arts to improve the hospital environment and aid wellbeing -

Ruth Charity, Arts Coordinator for artlink, says: "Oxford Hospitals Charity has been delighted to support and develop this project, which will offer so much to distract and entertain young patients, their families and the staff who work in this room."

Read more about art in the John Radcliffe Hospital on the artlink website: