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Fiona O’Sullivan
Dragons, spaceships and herds of deer – engaging children to reimagine healthcare environments

Runtime 🕑 45 mins

Arts Programme Manager, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity

Fiona completed her degree in Performing Arts (music) at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and then began her career as a vocalist, singing backing vocals for many bands and musicians. Even experiencing solo success with her own song.

Throughout these ten years, Fiona also worked in community arts, teaching singing and song writing to children and young people in deprived areas. Using music to build confidence, self-esteem and life skills.

Having experienced the positive effects the arts can have on children and young people, Fiona transitioned into arts management. Initially, Fiona worked in charities who focused on hard to reach children and young people, and it was in this setting that arts in health became a real interest.

For the past seven years, Fiona has worked for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity as an arts programme manager, building an innovative and diverse arts in health programme which gives children and young people in hospital the opportunity to express themselves creatively and to find fun and engaging ways to help children through their treatment. Fiona also sits on the Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland committee, and Edinburgh Lothian Health Foundation Advisory Group and the Arts in Health Advisory Council for Dublin children’s hospitals.


“Dragons, spaceships and herds of deer – engaging children to reimagine healthcare environments”

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) has provided over £3m towards the largest integrated art and therapeutic design project in a children’s healthcare setting in Europe. The charity believes that the healthcare environment in which you’re cared for and how it makes you feel, is crucial in reducing anxiety, aiding recovery and creating a sense of being safe and valued.  The project to enhance Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People involved significant engagement with children, young people, families and staff to shape the project briefs, select the design teams and influence the final designs. This session will describe the processes used to engage hospital users in the design of the building and how this was crucial to the success of the project.

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