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Improve Staff Wellbeing: Creative Activity & Displays In Staff Safe Spaces

This project is to increase the amount of creative arts opportunities for staff to engage in to increase their enjoyment and sense of wellbeing

Read comments 4
  • Proposal
  • 2020

Meet the team


  • Bryan Nelson
  • Paula McHugh
  • Sandra McCarry

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

The change that has emerged during Covid-19 is in relation to staff wellbeing and the need for clinical & ward based staff to have access to soothing/uplifting spaces where they can take time to process their thoughts and seek encouragement & inspiration to support their wellbeing.  E.g.  Wobble Rooms/Rainbow Rooms/Quiet Rooms.

This resulted in requests to the Arts in Health Programme to provide artwork and positivity boards for the rooms.  Partnerships have developed across Belfast Trust including with Cancer Services, & the Family Liaison and Bereavement Team with the Arts Care Artist in Residence Programme.

Artists created work to transform spaces.  Each space developed organically, as staff contributed comments on positivity boards, their own artwork and that of family members.

“The Arts Care team was central to creating a warm and relaxing environment.”

Bereavement Team

“A great place to reflect and calm down.”

Staff Member

What does your project aim to achieve?

We want to further develop the use of Arts in Health Programmes to improve staff wellbeing through offering arts interventions and spaces for their display particularly within the safe time out spaces for staff.

The project aims to:

To increase the availability of specific arts related activities to promote staff wellbeing, targeted around working patterns.
Build on a pilot project which had begun in early 2020 offering art workshops for ED staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital who were keen to display staff artwork in their department.
To involve staff in the creation of their own artwork to enhance staff wellbeing spaces.
To offer more opportunities to clinical ward based staff to engage in art workshops for wellbeing.


Reduced stress levels in staff
Improved sense of the team in the working area through shared pride in their working environment
Enjoyment of staff in the arts activities offered.

How will the project be delivered?

A planning team including hospital management, clinical staff, Arts in Health and Arts Care will develop a programme of workshops for clinical teams in the Belfast HSC Trust, initially at the Royal site.  Activity will be developed in conjunction with the staff at a time and venue most suited to their working lives.

The sessions will be delivered by an Arts Care Project Artist from Arts Care NI and other artist/facilitator will be contracted as necessary.

The artist will facilitate sessions which will:

Support staff to use creative activity for wellbeing e.g. manage stress
Support staff with existing skills to continue to develop their artistic practice
Create a body of work for display in staff safe/quiet spaces

There is potential for broader specific arts events to be held, with recent input from Jan Carson as a Writer in Residence producing ‘Write Around the Royal’ being an excellent recent example.

How is your project going to share learning?

The project will be evaluated throughout, through staff feedback on events and collection of data regarding time and number of events made available.  Activity will be documented through photography of works created or sessions in action.

Learning from the project will be shared widely through:

The display of the artwork
Linkages to Quality Improvement events in the Belfast HSC Trust
A wide range of arts, health, social care, community networks both within and external to Belfast HSC Trust.
If the project is successful this could lead to online availability of celebratory publications in a number of mediums.
The Learning will help build on ongoing health and wellbeing work through the Trust B Well staff initiative.

How you can contribute

  • Ideas for measurement of the impact of arts activities with staff or other project measures
  • Experiences of art projects or arts events for staff
  • Ideas for how to celebrate the project either during or how it is shared at the end

Plan timeline

30 Nov 2020 Review of literature & Initial consultation with staff and artists
31 Jan 2021 Report to Project Team on Initial Consultation
19 Feb 2021 Operational Working Group Formed & Initial Meeting
12 Mar 2021 Confirm pilot programme of activity, QI measurements & continuous data collection
2 Apr 2021 Apr-Nov deliver blended (in person/remote delivery) pilot programme
28 Jan 2022 Review quantitative & qualitative data, PDSA learning & share data including artworks
18 Feb 2022 Revise plans responding to learning from pilot (Year 1)
1 Mar 2022 Share & Celebrate Year 1 Pilot
11 Mar 2022 Begin scale & spread activity across other trust sites


  1. Hi Iain,

    Great idea for a project!

    some ideas for measurement;

    outcome measure: increased number of staff who have taken up a place on the workshop by a certain time period or increased number of workshops held over a certain time period.

    Process measure: % of staff who have increased their joy in work following completion of the interventions. I was thinking here that the Joy in work framework seems to meet a lot of the issues that the team need to address and so a pulse survey based on the 7 questions used by Belfast Trust for the Joy in work surveys could be an option here. It may be a good idea to see if these could be put into a real-time feedback tool ( which may be another improvement change idea)

    Balancing measure: staff time spent attending art workshops/ involvement in artwork work v extra work for staff to do who are not in attendance.

    I was involved in silk screen printing with the artist in residence with the Health Improvement Team in Belfast Trust which really brought the team together and we had a tangible silkscreen to display in the Dept afterward which was great. I was also involved with the Artist in residence developing artwork with adults with a learning disability across seven day centers in Belfast Trust. It was based on a theme of the Olympics which were held that year. Each center developed its own glass rings that were hand-painted and then these came together to form one larger sculpture which was representative of their linking together. They each had a smaller replica to keep and it told the story of a wider project they were involved in. These types of ideas could be used with staff who are full of ideas themselves.

    The project could be celebrated by creating something individually and then bringing it together on MSTeams as one picture if it needs to be done digitally. Artwork could be displayed at the inner panels of the Fit testing centers to make them less cold-looking or on computer screens as screen savers etc. Communication around the achievement of this could be circulated as a powtoon by the teams and sent to the Q community, shared within the Trust on a variety of platforms. This sounds like a fantastic project which would be great to see how it develops.

    1. Joan thanks so much for this its really helpful. Linking up with wider JIW measurements is a great idea


  2. Hi Iain,

    Myself and my colleague Emma Adams (Health Transformation Partnership) are supporting the Health Foundation this year by fostering conversations between Q members and encouraging collaboration. We were Exchange applicants last year, so we’re hoping that our experience can help others, as their ideas develop.

    As I was reading through your idea, I was struck by parallels with East London Foundation Trust. We facilitated a visit there which focussed on their Enjoying Work programme, in which they incorporated arts (music, craft) as part of that programme. I wondered if you made contact, whether they could give you some insights on your question about how to measure the impact. Here's a link to a page you may be interested in:

    If I can help you make further contacts I will. In the meantime, I wish you the best of luck with your idea.


    1. Peter thanks so much for that it's a really good link to make. I'll take a closer look at their measures around enjoying work. Much appreciated.


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