Addenbrooke's arts

Addenbrooke’s Arts enhances the hospital environment and aims to improve the experience of patients, visitors and staff through an innovative, stimulating and engaging arts programme.

The programme is not funded by the NHS.  All activity is paid for by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and other fundraising and earned income.

Who we are

Addenbrooke’s Arts is managed by:

Natalie Ellis
Head of Arts

Lesley Bermingham
Arts Project Manager


We welcome feedback, suggestions, comments and donations.

What we do

Our principal areas of work are:

  • improving the hospital environment using visual arts
  • integrating art into new buildings on the hospital site,
  • providing opportunities for patients and staff to participate in the arts
  • developing and managing a programme of arts events for patients, staff, visitors and the wider community

We run a number of gallery spaces in the hospital with work for sale and commission integrated artwork in newly built and refurbished parts of the hospital, as well as in external garden spaces. Alongside new work, we manage the hospital’s collection of over 5,000 artworks. 

It's not all about visual arts. We run a number of musical performances each year and collaborate with colleagues in Cambridge, regionally and nationally to help raise standards in arts and health activity.

In recent years, we have run a range of projects with patients and staff. These have provided opportunities to participate in the arts and introducing creative activity as a tool for staff development and patient recovery. We stage a number of annual exhibitions of art work produced by staff. We have established staff poetry, photography and painting groups as well as a number of book clubs.

We are proud of the impact our work has had on the hospital environment. The arts programme has been credited with dramatically improving the experience of patients, staff and visitors to the hospital and influencing patient outcomes. 

Art in hospitals

In recent years, a growing body of evidence has been compiled proving the value of the arts in healthcare settings. In 2007, The Department of Health 

issued its first ever review of arts in health which recognised that the arts “are, and should be firmly recognised as being, integral to health, healthcare provision and healthcare environments, including supporting staff”. Recent research at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital found:

  • 75% of patients found the presence of art in the hospital reduced stress levels

  • patients exposed to visual arts and live music during the preoperative process shoed significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression than patients who were prepared for surgery in the absence of the arts.
  • patients exposed to visual art and live music during the post-operative period required less analgesia per day than patients recovering in the absence of visual art and live music. These patients also stayed 1 day less in hospital



Taking Note

Hospitals are busy and sometimes overwhelming places. The Cambridge University Hospitals site is like a small town in itself, with over 40,000 people moving around the spaces every day.

Taking Note, co-produced with Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination, began exploring how stories might connect individuals across this community in 2016 – the patients, staff, researchers, visitors, volunteers and many others who spend time there every day.

These stories are all about happiness, however fleeting or seemingly insubstantial.

They are about the individual moments that are recorded if we find a way to stop and take notice. Many of them are gathered below.

Since we began, we have held two pop-up events in the public areas of the hospital, curated two exhibitions in the hospital itself and two in the centre of Cambridge, shared the work at conferences and events and gathered over 100 stories. In 2017 we invited four poets to spend time at the hospital and respond to the spaces there and the themes of the project - this was Poetry in moments.

Jo Shapcott (winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal, 2011, and the Costa Book Award, 2010) and Cambridge based poets Kaddy Benyon, Eve Lacey and Rebecca Watts spent the autumn engaging with patients, visitors and staff.

To read the poems, and for more information about Taking Note, visit:


Art exhibition: Tess Recordon and Katy Ellis (until 22 April)

Art exhibition: Tess Recordon and Katy Ellis

Christmas card competition 2019

We are delighted to be exhibiting artwork in the ATC corridor by pupils from Queen Emma Primary School who entered our Christmas card competition this year. Children that took part are in the key stage 1 classes, aged 5-7 years old.

Art exhibition: Byard Art Gallery (until 13 Feb)

Art exhibition: Byard Art Galler

Art exhibition: Light, Water and Nature (until 4 Dec)

Two local artists are both inspired by light, water and nature, but their artwork responses are very different.