Oh My Gosh, You're Wellcome...Kitten

If young people with significant mental health challenges are supported to collaborate on what their care could be like, what happens? What if these young people create the boundaries for making art? Share their wellbeing wants and needs? Become professional designers?

Over six months fifteen young people and multiple nurses from the Mildred Creek Unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) collaborated with Artist ‘the vacuum cleaner’, Architect Ishbel Mull from Muf Art/Architecture and Arts Manager at GOSH Arts Caroline Moore to explore these questions.

The studio at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The group created a studio space at GOSH. During weekly workshops in the studio and on trips to Kew Gardens, John Lewis, Wellcome Collection and Tate Modern they answered a series of questions and mapped out what the perfect mental health environment looked like. 

Each week the group explored different questions such as:

‘When I look out of the window what do I want to see?’

‘How would you design your perfect bedroom?’

‘Describe your perfect day’ 

‘What spaces would you have in the perfect hospital?’.

Answering these questions helped them imagine what kind of environments, activities and support they would design to make themselves feel more positive, less stressed and to make their journey both at GOSH and at home more manageable.

A creative result

Each question was explored in a unique way; the group used cardboard, clay, performance, soap, tin foil, the nurses’ bodies, orchids, sheepskin and a generous helping of silliness to understand what they wanted and needed from an healthcare environment and the people in that environment who care for them.

Some of the objects young people identified as sparking good mental health included a puppy: “You can hug them, they are your best friend, they are fluffy”;

A swimming pool, “Being in water, when youre weightless, feels magic. It’s the best feeling when you get out after you’ve swam,”;

And friends, “They are the people you hang out with all day and they don’t want anything in return.”

These objects, a collection of writing and a body of research from the intensive project have gone on to inform the creation of a new installation Oh My GOSH you’re Wellcome…Kitten which is on display as part of Wellcome Collection’s new permanent exhibition, Being Human.

Being Human is open daily, at the Wellcome Collection, Euston Rd, just 15 minutes’ walk from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Photo credit: Photography Steven Pocock, Courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.