Simon Roberts (Bristol Royal Infirmary)
Landscapes of Innocence and Experience, 3-channel video with sounds (25 minutes) © Simon Roberts
Photographer Simon Roberts created a new body of work reflecting Bristol’s culture, landscape/urbanscape and history, including how these relate to Bristol’s hospitals. This work was part of the arts programme run by arts consultants Willis Newson for the redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) on behalf of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.
Roberts’ approach is one of creating wide-ranging surveys of our time, communicating on important social, economic and political issues. His work exhibits a disciplined compositional restraint, a richness of palette and a wealth of narrative incident.
For this project, he engaged with both the hospital and local community and collaborated with cultural partners, including M-shed, Artshine and Fotogallery. Simon put out a call to local people and thousands responded to help create artwork for a new ward block at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI.
Patients, staff and the local community shaped the project through workshops, talks and consultation. Using this research and images submitted by the public as inspiration, Simon developed a series of photographs that have been installed as wall vinyls, printed ceiling tiles and framed images across seven floors within the new ward block.
The images, which reflect the city’s culture, landscape and history, have helped give the building a unique identity, prompted conversations and made the hospital environment feel more welcoming and less clinical.
For example, Simon was inspired to create a series of nature and green space themed images when patients spoke of getting back in the garden or outdoors when they were well again.
All of the photographs submitted for the project are stored in a permanent online gallery (www.beholdrespondinspire). In addition to this, six themed collages have been created representing Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol architecture, local people, regional landscapes and Bristol Harbourside. The collages have been made from over 2000 photographs submitted by the public and have been installed as public galleries on the different ward levels.
This commission was funded by Above & Beyond, the Trust’s charitable fund. Simon Roberts’ project is one of a number of integrated art projects creating a positive environment for patients and staff across the redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Simon Roberts is a British photographer whose work deals with our relationship to landscape and notions of identity and belonging. His large format photographs are taken with great technical precision, often from elevated positions. The distanced vantage point allows the relationship of individual bodies and groups to the landscape to be clearly observed, and echoes the visual language of history painting.
He has published and exhibited widely and his photographs reside in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House, Deutsche Börse Art Collection and Wilson Centre for Photography. In 2010 he was commissioned as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee to produce a record of the General Election on behalf of the UK Parliamentary Art Collection. Most recently he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
Willis Newson is a leading Bristol-based independent arts consultancy specialising in creative approaches to improving health and wellbeing. It develops & delivers public art strategies for new builds and refurbishments, manages public engagement programmes, offers an affordable design service for healthcare and provides advice and guidance on using art & design to create healthy environments.
Willis Newson was established in 2001 and has since carried out over 200 projects for more than 31 NHS Trusts, as well as working on projects for private healthcare clients, contractors and architects.
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Laing O’Rourke, Coda, M-shed, Artshine, Ffotogallery
Above & Beyond Charities