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Acclaimed artists contribute to new ‘Boredom Buster’ newspaper

Last updated: 17/07/2020

Thousands of NHS patients across the UK will soon be enjoying a dose of creativity as a new ‘Boredom Buster’ publication is launched in hospitals.

The 48-page tabloid style newspaper, inspired by the beloved Summer Annual formula, has been produced for the NHS National Performance Advisory Group for Arts, Design and Heritage in Hospitals, by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) in partnership with Culture Weston.

This bumper first edition is a pioneering, collaborative project between the arts and culture sector, hospital arts teams and participatory arts professionals. Packed with articles, activities and images it is designed for adults and older teenagers to boost mood and alleviate anxiety and provides an individual, interactive kit of creative items. As well as reading, patients are encouraged to immerse themselves in drawing, writing, tearing and folding to make each copy their own.

‘Boredom Buster’s’ superpower is its eclectic range of contributions including those from famous artists, arts therapists and professional creative health specialists. The wealth of contributors includes Antony Gormley, Martin Parr, Sarah Hickson, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Deller, Mark Ravenhill, Patrick Gale, Kalpna Woolf, Luke Jerram, Wayne McGregor, Manoj Malde, Dr Phil Hammond and Dr Lizzie Burns, founder of the ‘Anti-boredom Campaign’. * (see contributors list below)

Anna Farthing, Arts Programme Director, UHBW, said: “We are very grateful for the generosity of all of the contributors, seed funding from Above & Beyond Charity and our ongoing collaboration with Culture Weston.  At a time when visiting is restricted, patients are in even greater need of an individual resource that can provide engaging things to do and think about.

“Boredom Buster activities are fun and they are also based on research. Content has been carefully selected to help patients communicate, maintain cognitive function and manual dexterity, and express their identity. The interest shown by colleagues from all over the country has been overwhelming.”

The ‘Boredom Buster’ newspaper has attracted national interest and the print run of 60,000 is being eagerly taken up by NHS Foundation Trusts, Hospital Charities and other care settings, in organisations spanning the length and breadth of the country including London, Bristol, Weston, Oxford, Kent, Derby and Morecambe.

It will also be delivered to care homes in Weston, as part of Culture Weston and UHBW’s on-going Arts + Health programme in the town.

Fiona Matthews, Creative Director, Culture Weston said: “We are delighted to be launching the first ever Boredom Buster Annual for hospital patients, continuing the partnership aims of Culture Weston and UHBW to support and promote the transformative impact of the arts on health and well-being.  Weston has a distinctive history as a health resort, and we hope that the Boredom Buster’s fresh and creative energy will spread a little proverbial sunshine to hospital wards up and down the country.”

The ‘Boredom Buster’ Annual can be dipped in and out of and contains a variety of themed pages to creatively engage a broad demographic of adult patients, with spreads on history, art, science, poetry, writing, photography, fashion, music, dance, travel, food, outdoors and well-being.

No Summer Annual would be complete without a healthy dose of seaside air. Martin Parr’s iconic photographs bring ice cream and knotted handkerchiefs, Kalpna Woolf’s picnic pages take us to coastlines around the world, whilst the history of Donald McGill’s saucy postcards might raise an eyebrow or two. 

There is plenty more besides to entertain. Play travel games, read aloud from Mark Ravenhill’s playlet, trace around your fingers, fold an origami heart or tear out Antony Gormley’s string of paper figures. Green-fingered readers can dream up their ideal garden with a bit of help from Chelsea Flower Show designer Manoj Malde; potential writers can read up on novelist Patrick Gale’s top tips or feel the flow of poetry in the NHS anthology ‘These Are The Hands’.

Line up your bedside view with Alan Lightman’s look at Symmetry; discover the secret of good health with Dr Phil Hammond’s daily prescription of CLANGERS; dance the Macarena whilst sitting down; sing along to Bastille or hum your own top Tropical tunes. Salute street artist Stewy’s artwork of NHS hero Aneurin Bevan and marvel at the Universe with Luke Jerram’s Moon and Gaia.

Owing to the high level of interest in the ‘Boredom Buster’ Summer Annual, a Winter Annual is already being planned.

To order copies of the ‘Boredom Buster’ Summer Annual, hospitals, health and care settings can email boredombuster@uhbw.nhs.uk.

* ‘Boredom Buster’ Contributors:

Bastille (band), Rachel Barbarisi (artist), Michael Bird (art historian), James Bissell-Thomas (globe maker), Paul Blakemore (photographer), Lizzie Burns (science artist), Beth Calverley (poet), Lindsey Cole (adventurer), Sarah Corbett (artist), Andy Council (street artist),

Amy Creech (creative arts therapist), John Crockford-Hawley (local historian), Adam Dant (artist), Jeremy Deller (artist), David Dimbleby (current affairs presenter), Stanley Donwood (artist), Dionne Draper (singer), Rose Flint (writer), Patrick Gale (author), Antony Gormley (artist), Dr Phil Hammond (medic and broadcaster), Sarah Hickson (photographer), Vic Hole (dancer), Ana Jaks (illustrator), Luke Jerram (artist), Jo Lamb (artist), Alan Lightman (physicist and writer), Manoj Malde (garden designer), Judy Marshall (artist), Wayne McGregor (choreographer), Liz Milner (photographer), Johnathan Montelongo (graphic designer), Fraser Muggeridge (artist), Martin Parr (photographer), Susie Parr (writer), Elizabeth Purnell (musician), Mark Ravenhill (playwright), Katherine Riegel (poet), Stewy (street artist), Ruth Sidgwick (artist), Kev F Sutherland (comic artist), The Supermares (swimmers), Dougal Templeton (publisher), Joe Townsend (musician), Alison Williams (DJ), Phil Whiting (artist), Kalpna Woolf (food writer)