Creative Residencies

Every year we run a project in a specific ward or department. An artist or cultural organisation works with clinical staff to develop a unique and personal creative experience for their patients.

Under the Microscope

Under the Microscope, an exhibition by artist Sofie Layton, has opened in the GOSH main entrance, the ICH Gallery and the Friends’ Garden pavilion. The exhibition is a culmination of a year-long GO Create! project and includes a range of multi-disciplinary works made in conversation with the cardiovascular imaging team, Bear Ward and young people and their parents. The exhibition includes a sensory installation which explores the intricacies of the immune system and the reality of a patient undergoing gene therapy.


IMG_7236 Go Create! dance
Rambert Dance Company with our Physiotherapy Department

In March 2015 GO Create! worked with internationally renowned Rambert Dance Company to support physiotherapy patients with their daily exercise regime. The residency involved a week of creative and dynamic dance workshops run by professional Rambert dancers Natalie and Debs in the physiotherapy gymnasium.

Rambert is one of the most distinguished and creative contemporary dance companies in the UK and their innovative productions regularly tour the world. Each session at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) was inspired by Rambert's production, Terra Incognita (The Strange Charm of Mother Nature). Participants imagined they were birds flocking in formation or a shoal of fish gliding through ripling currents.

The workshops were brought to life by inspiring and uplifting musical scores. Parents observed the joy on their children's faces as they moved gracefully around the space, interacting with other children, learning communication and collaboration skills and growing in confidence every day.

It brought a tear to my eye seeing them so happy


Patient Keano creating as part of the Tagore residency

The Tagore Centre UK on ICI Division Wards

In January 2015 artist Ansuman Biswas worked with children and young people on the Infection, Cancer and Immunity (ICI Division) wards on behalf of cultural organisation The Tagore Centre UK. 

Patients aged between 6 and 16 explored Rabindranath Tagore’s play ‘The Post Office’ and created the imaginative artworks in this book. The play describes the story of Amal, a child who is unwell and not able to leave his room. He looks out of his window and dreams of the wide world beyond.

Most of the children and young people involved in the residency were themselves being nursed in isolation. Children waiting for bone marrow transplants can spend between six to ten weeks in their rooms.

Connecting to the story of Amal and using painting and drawing enabled patients to thoughtfully express and reflect upon their own experiences. The residency will be remembered in a book that tells the The Post Office story, with postcards depicting the children's artwork.

It made me feel well and forget my pain..... I loved it

Maya (age 7)

The Tagore Centre UK promotes and celebrates the work of Nobel prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore: a prolific Bengali writer, philosopher, artist and outstanding thinker of the 20th Century.

Breathe Magic workshop in the Mildred Creak Unit 

In 2013, following a successful pilot project, we invited Breathe Magic to run a series of workshops on the Mildred Creak Unit, a specialised ward for children aged seven to 14 with mental health issues. Workshops ran throughout May and June 2013.

The Breathe Magic team worked closely with young people on the ward, teaching them magic tricks and the art of performance. The aim of the project was to boost young people's confidence and self-esteem through learning new skills and sharing the experience with friends, family and staff. 

The response from staff and patients was overwhelmingly positive; young people described the workshops as ‘amazing’,  and ‘I was really impressed with the magic’. Staff from Mildred Creak Unit said ‘The young people loved the sessions’.

For more information about the project, please watch our short film.

If the video is not showing, please watch it on YouTube

Arts and crafts on Dinosaur Ward

In 2012, we invited artist Isobel Manning to work with children and young people on Dinosaur Ward, and together they created the GO Create! arts and craft book for children and families

Isobel developed ten individually bright and colourful activities for children and young people that were specifically tailored to suit a wide range of ages and abilities. She then guided the children through each of the activities that included funny face bags, robots, haunted castles, superhero capes, monster feet and comic books. 

Instructions and pictures of patients working on the various activities were brought together in an arts and crafts book for other children and families to use across the hospital and beyond.

You can now purchase the book from Blurb website at

This fabulous art and crafts book for children and families has won the Gold Award for Design at ‘The 2013 Institute of Medical Illustrator Awards’.

A young person puts their hand out to a shadow puppet seahorse

Shadow puppets in the Dental and Maxillofacial department

In 2011, artist in residence Jennie Pedley worked with children and young people in the waiting room of the Dental and Maxillofacial department. Patients created shadow puppet sea creatures and then performed with them behind a backlit screen. Their shadow puppet performances were photographed to provide still and animated images that will be used as permanent artworks within the department.

Children and young people of all ages and abilities participated along with their parents, carers and even staff. The project ran during busy clinic times and provided an entertaining and creative experience for everyone waiting for appointments.

You can view the full gallery on Flickr.

Film making at the hospital school

Over the years there have been many documentaries made about GOSH, all from an adult perspective.

In 2010 we invited film makers Mouth That Roars to work with children and young people to make a film about the hospital from the patients’ perspective.

Over a two-week period, children and young people were involved in filming, sound recording, directing, interviewing and presenting. The residency was supported by Scott and Suling Mead.

Here is the film the patients made. 

If the video is not showing, please watch it on YouTube

Storytelling at bedtime

Josh Gaillemin worked with children and young people in the Respiratory Sleep Unit.

Each night, as patients were preparing for their sleep assessments, Josh would encourage children to create their own stories. He then created a book, Cuthbert’s Quest for a Bedtime Story, which brings together elements from the each of the patients stories.

The book was illustrated by Kirsty Barton - pictures of the characters are on display next to each bedroom within the unit.

This project was generously supported by The Casey Trust and LexisNexis as part of their RE Cares initiative. Special thanks to Kirsty Barton for the illustrations and design for the book.

You can view the full gallery on Flickr.

X-ray of a toy teddy bear by photographer Nick Veasey

Photography in X-ray

Photographer Nick Veasey joined the Radiology department to become our first X-ray photographer in residence.

Children and young people were invited to X-ray their favourite item or toy (for example a teddy bear or an iPod) and both experience the X-ray process from the perspective of the radiographer and become more familiar with the high-tech equipment and processes involved.

More than 150 X-ray artworks were created by patients, families, staff and children. A selection of the images are now on permanent display in the Radiology department.

Kirsty Barton brought a selection of these images together in a storybook: Hefty’s day in X-ray .

This project was generously funded by the Friends of GOSH with support from supported by LexisNexis as part of their RE Cares initiative.

You can view the full gallery on Flickr.

A patient playing with a green puppet that looks like a tree

Puppet making for all

Puppeteer Andy Jones led a series of puppet-making workshops with children from Rainbow Ward. He taught them how to create their own individual puppets and craft faces, facial expressions, hairstyles, hats and outfits.

Together, the participants created all the main characters from Peter Pan before performing their own version of the world-famous story.

This project was generously funded by the Friends of GOSH with support from supported by LexisNexis as part of their RE Cares initiative.

You can view the full gallery on Flickr. You can also download a PDF version of the Peter Pan book , inspired by the children and the puppets they created.

Poetry in the Renal Unit

Poet Cherry Smyth visited the Renal Unit to run a series of creative writing workshops with children and young people while they were having dialysis.

The children looked at all sorts of creative writing including rap, poetry and song writing. The final works were illustrated by Kirsty Barton and published as a book .

This project was generously funded by the Friends of GOSH with support from LexisNexis as part of their RE Cares initiative.

“The poetry programme is a wonderful idea and a great way of keeping the children creatively active while they are on dialysis.” Cyril Chantler, Chairman of the Trust

“The books were really lovely and the kids were so proud that they had done them. They all wanted to show me what they had done, some of them really made me smile as the poems are a true reflection of their personalities!” Cecilia McNeice, Senior Renal Staff Nurse, GOSH

A patient works on the mural for the walls outside the waiting areas of Elephant Daycare

You can view the full gallery on Flickr.

Artist in residence

Artist Sean Michael carried out workshops in the waiting areas of Elephant Daycare, allowing patients, visitors and staff to observe and take part in the creative processes of an artist.

The artwork is now on display in the lift lobby near Elephant Daycare.

The residency was supported by Paintings in Hospitals and the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award.

Sean Michael said: "I really enjoyed working with GOSH patients and felt privileged. The children were among the nicest I have ever worked with and it seems an incredibly effective place to work as an artist." 

You can view the full gallery on Flickr.