Hospital arts lead shortlisted for award

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A leading light whose work has transformed hospital experience at the Royal Devon & Exeter for patients, visitors and staff has been shortlisted for a major new regional award.


Stephen Pettet Smith


Stephen Pettet-Smith of Exeter Healthcare Arts has worked in partnership with the RD&E for 14 years to enhance the hospital environment with the display of art in the buildings and grounds. Stephen has been announced on the shortlist for the Arts In Health South West award for the individual category. It is organised by Arts & Health South West and funded by the Fine Family Foundation. The overall winner will be named at a ceremony on 27 June.


Stephen was nominated for this award recognition for his individual contribution to arts and health in the South West by Dr Jane Milling of Exeter University and supported by RD&E Joint Medical Director, Dr Vaughan Lewis.


Dr Lewis said: "Stephen's contribution to enhancing the hospital environment has been considerable and his on going commitment to exploring innovative and exciting ways of displaying art in its various forms is highly appreciated by the numerous patients, visitors and staff who spend time in the Royal Devon and Exeter. Stephen also helps us to reassure our patients with initiatives like the film animation work he did with Bramble ward patients to explain to children coming in for treatment what happens and who they will meet during their stay.”


Stephen has been instrumental in negotiating, fund-raising and delivering a range of projects throughout the hospital from exterior new build and refurbishment to exterior landscape schemes with artists, craftspeople and architects. A key part of his work has been to embed ‘Arts & Culture’ into the philosophy, community and fabric of the hospital.


Occupational Therapist Carrie Clarke speaks highly of Stephen’s achievement with ‘The Enhancing the Healing Environment’ project. She said: “What really shines through with Stephen is his genuine passion and commitment to the benefits of the arts within healthcare environments. He is always open to new possibilities and quietly builds bridges and creates partnerships with a wide range of organisations, groups and individual artists. Stephen is strongly deserving of being recognised for his contribution to the arts and health field through the AHSW Awards.” 


Stephen’s on-going collaboration with the RD&E can be seen throughout the hospital and grounds in the form of gardens, sculptures and artworks. All these works is funded through charitable donations and arts funding.


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