Image: Eye of the Storm by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. Part of the Linear Meditations exhibition from Paintings in Hospitals.

New art exhibition from paintings in hospitals supports patients and staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital

Arts for Health Milton Keynes are delighted to host Linear Meditations, a new mindful hospital exhibition featuring the works of influential British abstract artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham from Paintings in Hospitals in partnership with Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust and emerging curator Briana Oliver.  The artworks are currently on display across the Antenatal Day Assessment Unit and Obstetric Ultrasound area at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Linear Meditations dives into the representations of water made by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in her drawings, paintings and etchings between 1975-2002. Capturing water in a variety of forms, from glaciers to seascapes, the exhibition explores the power of water to both calm and captivate.

The exhibition has been specifically designed with care settings in mind, to enhance the care environment and improve patient and staff wellbeing. To help patients and staff engage with the display, the exhibition has a series of practical mindfulness exercises.

Stuart Isaac, Artistic & Programmes Director at Arts for Health Milton Keynes, said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Linear Meditations exhibition to Milton Keynes University Hospital, continuing our partnership with Paintings in Hospitals. The artworks help promote a wellbeing focused environment and innovatively encourage engagement with the artworks through the mindfulness exercises.”

Paintings in Hospitals mission is to use art to inspire better health and wellbeing across the UK. Through their art collection and art activities, Paintings in Hospitals helps to create care spaces that encourage, enrich and empower millions of people every year. Find out more at:

Find out more information about Linear Meditations and other temporary exhibitions around the Milton Keynes University Hospital on our temporary exhibitions pages.


Call for Entries:
Exhibit at Milton Keynes University Hospital
3 October 2019

Applications are now closed:

Arts for Health Milton Keynes are inviting submissions from artists interested in exhibiting at Milton Keynes University Hospital as part of our changing exhibition programme.  

We are offering artist/artist groups the unique opportunity to reach a wide and diverse audience through displaying work within corridors or waiting areas on the hospital site for the duration of six months. 

About Arts for Health
We are an independent charity based at Milton Keynes University Hospital where we care for the art collection and organise an annual programme of temporary exhibitions. A large part of our work is based around the role that art can play in enhancing the health care environment of the hospital. Hospitals are often very stressful places to be admitted to, to visit and to work in. They are unique environments, eliciting strong feelings and reactions ranging from nerve wracking to frightening and exciting to boring. Art in a hospital provides an opportunity to be distracted, soothed, cheered and engaged. We are looking for exhibition proposals that complement the nature of this environment. 

We are now looking for artists for the following exhibition periods:  

December 2019 - May 2020  
February – July 2020 
May – October 2020 
July – December 2020 

From the submitted works a panel will select works to be included in each exhibition. Installation dates TBC with selected artists. 

Information for applicants 
Due to the nature of the space, we are only able to accommodate 2D work which is no more than 7cm in depth and artists will need to have a substantial body of work to fill the space. The decision will be based on website portfolio and work for exhibition will be decided following discussion with Arts for Health and the artist.
To apply 
You are required to include in your submission: 
    •    Name and Contact address/email/telephone number  
    •    Artist website address / Instagram / PDF file containing images and a brief artist statement 
    •    Please indicate your first-choice dates or if you would like to be considered for all exhibition periods 
    •    Any technical requirements  
Terms and Conditions  
    •    Arts for Health cannot guarantee that any artist will be selected for exhibition. The selectors' decision is final and Arts for Health will not enter into discussions regarding acceptance.  
    •    Artists chosen will work with the Arts for Health team to agree final content of exhibition.  
    •    All works submitted must be available for the duration of the exhibition. Artists cannot remove artwork from display until after the exhibition closes.  
    •    Work must be wall based but can be in any medium. The work must be no more than 7cms in depth.  
    •    Artwork must be the original work of the artist(s) named on the submission 
    •    Group entries will be accepted.  
    •    Selected artists must supply work as display ready, taking into account the specific hanging system in the exhibition space. All brackets will be provided by Arts for Health.  
    •    Selected artists will be responsible for the transport costs and arrangements for their works.  
    •    Whilst every precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of artwork whilst on display, the spaces are open to the public and therefore all art work will be exhibited at the artist’s own risk. The organisers are not liable for any loss or damage incurred to artwork during transit or exhibition. Selected artists are responsible for taking out their own insurance to cover the work in transit (two-ways) and during the exhibition period.  
    •    Arts for Health will take a commission of 20% on any artworks sold during the exhibition. 
    •    Arts for Health reserve the right to withdraw selected artwork from exhibition at any time.  
    •    If selected, the artist agrees to the reproduction of their work (at no fee) in association with the competition for inclusion in press/publicity/website etc 

Please send submissions to:  

Submission deadline: 5pm Sunday October 27 2019 

Exhibitors chosen will be informed by: Tuesday 5 November 2019 

Image above: Hannah Wilson

Call for Artists:
MKDAD Open Art Exhibition 2019
1 June 2019

Applications are now closed

Showcasing the Talent of Disabled Artists in Milton Keynes.

We’re excited to announce that we will be returning this summer with an exhibition celebrating the work of disabled artists in Milton Keynes. Through visual art, the exhibition aims to bring together a range of communities to re-imagine the way that society views disability.

For this year's exhibition there is no theme – It is simply a showcase of the creative talent of local disabled artists!

We are inviting disabled artists from Milton Keynes and surrounding areas to submit work to be considered for the exhibition. Submissions are selected by a panel of judges including practicing artists and local arts organisers. This opportunity is open to anyone who identifies as disabled.

The exhibition will run from Saturday 29 June – Sunday 21 July 2019.

Deadline for submissions:
Saturday 15 June 2019

To apply please read the terms and conditions before completing and returning the submission forms below:

Submission form (PDF)
Submission form (PDF) – Large print

Submission form (docx)
Submission form (docx) – Large print

If you require further information please contact Emma Barford

New Collection and Exhibitions Manager  appointed

17 May 2019

Emma Barford joins Arts for Health Milton Keynes as its new part-time Collections and Exhibitions Manager.

We’re pleased to announce the appointment of Emma Barford as Arts for Health Milton Keynes Collections and Exhibitions Manager, commencing Monday 20th May 2019.

Emma is a Midlands based visual artist and art educator with a BA (Hons) Fine Art, from The University of Northampton (2010) and an MA Fine Art, from Chelsea College of Arts, The University of the Arts London (2014).  In her practice she regularly engages in community outreach work. 

Emma’s current research demonstrates a particular interest in understanding the role that art and creativity has on mental health and wellbeing, and ways of articulating people’s sense of disconnection or isolation while in the company of others, particularly in the context of today’s digital environment.

Artistic & Programmes Director Stuart Isaac says: 

We are delighted to welcome Emma to Arts for Health Milton Keynes.  She brings with her a range of skills and experience from her continuing part-time role at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum which wholly support the ambitions of our organisation.”

Arts for Health Milton Keynes is an independent charity based at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH).  We care for the largest permanent collection in the city of over 400 works, organise an annual programme of temporary exhibitions, events for the public and hospital staff and currently manage four Creative Courtyards within the hospital site.  In the wider community we deliver art workshops for many different groups of people facing health challenges, including people with dementia and young people going through a difficult time.

Emma will be responsible for the curation of the collection of artworks and for researching, interpreting and displaying a programme of temporary exhibitions.  

World Health Day – the essential contribution of Arts for Health Milton Keynes

7 April 2019

As World Health Day approaches, Director Stuart Isaac flags the importance of Arts for Health MK to the provision of health and wellbeing in Milton Keynes and calls for additional resources and creative partnerships to ensure its future survival.

On 7 April 2019 people worldwide will spotlight the World Health designated World Health Day. And rightly so. In 2019 their campaign focus is on univers
al health care via strong (first sector) primary care services. But let’s not forget the third sector’s contribution to the provision of, and equality of access to healthcare, especially here in Milton Keynes.

Arts for Health Milton Keynes (AHMK) is what’s known as a third sector organisation (TSO). And what is that you may ask? Well put simply – it’s neither a public (first sector) organisation nor private (second sector) organisation, but falls within a third sector category that includes registered charities, associations, self-help and community groups, social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives. But make no mistake, third sector doesn’t mean third-rate or third in importance! Invaluable and frequently essential contributions to people’s health and wellbeing at all different life stages are being made by charities such as ours.

Since 2011, AHMK has provided Arts on Prescription for people from 8 years and upwards in MK with health and wellbeing challenges, and our main focus is on mental health. Within this programme, we have developed progressive courses (such as Step Up) which enable participants to develop their own artistic practice whilst strengthening their personal resilience. Our HEADSTART courses, currently supported by MK Community Foundation (MKCF) include visual arts sessions as well as multiple artforms for the younger age group.

Our Arts on Prescription programme, which includes Art & Dementia has helped over 600 adults and almost 50 young people living with a variety of health and wellbeing challenges. Some of our participants go on to volunteer in different settings, with some adult participants able to move back in to work.

We would like to highlight some of the other local organisations which support MK’s third sector and contribute to the arts, health and wellbeing agenda. For example, the valuable work of the newly expanded MK Gallery and it’s Changing Places toilet provision funded by MKCF; Arts & Heritage Alliance MK which is a conduit for inward investment opportunities and operates the MK Cultural Education Partnership. Camphill MK’s Chrysalis Theatre has become a base for a number of our courses, and we also deliver in partnership with The Old Bath House in Wolverton, and Unity Park Station close to the CMK Railway Station.  

We remain grateful for the financial contribution towards our core costs which we receive from Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH). We welcome companies such as Santander to work with us voluntarily, for example to support our Creative Courtyards programme at MKUH. This is one of our opportunities for companies to develop their team-building whilst contributing to their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, and benefit from our particular style of health & wellbeing activities.

You might liken health and wellbeing provision to a three-legged stool – upheld by first, second and third sector legs. You only have to lose one of them for it to become unstable or topple over. And as a compassionate and civilised society we need to keep that stool stable, so it can provide rest and support for all who need to use it!

Not everyone can thrust a hand into deep pockets and pull out wedges of spare cash – though if you can we’d love to hear from you and will put it to excellent use! (Donate here) But there are many other ways to support us with varying degrees of effort, expense or involvement. Here are a few:

  • Join our e-list by emailing – so we can keep you informed of our progress, projects or needs
  • Come visit the University Hospital Art Collection of over 400 pieces – and support its conservation and display
  • Buy an original artwork from one of our temporary exhibitions - sales commission will help all our work
  • If you are a GP or work in health and social care – invite us to tell you more about our work at one of your staff meetings
  • Ask about opportunities to volunteer with us

At Arts for Health MK our vision, passion and commitment is to promote individual health and wellbeing via our programme of artist-led activities and projects, and the enhanced healthcare setting we provide for staff, visitors and patients at MKUH. We thank you for your support, be it past, present or future. Happy World Health Day!

Stuart Isaac
Artistic & Programmes Director, Arts for Health Milton Keynes

Arts for Health Milton Keynes
Facilities Directorate
Milton Keynes Hospital
Standing Way
Milton Keynes
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Arts for Health Milton Keynes is the working name of MK Arts for Health charity number 1107625  company number 0513769