Leading academic completes
major arts commission for NHS

A leading academic at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has completed a major public arts commission for NHS England’s newest hospital building in Brighton.

25 Oct 2023

Calm by Sharon Ting

Sharon Ting, Programme Director for Textiles at UCA, has designed and produced work for The Sanctuary, a contemplative space within The Louisa Martindale Building that supports the human, emotional, and spiritual needs of all who use the hospital.

She was selected by CONNECT, the public art programme for the redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, and was given a brief to use art to create new links between the hospital, city, county, and community by celebrating the unique character and culture of Brighton and Sussex.

Sharon said: “I wanted to approach the brief to upscale my practice, create work that combines craft with new technology and work within a new industry. Working sustainably, outsourcing fabrication, and collaborating with specialist manufacturers was my aim.

Seating area designed by Sharon Ting

Seating area designed by Sharon Ting

Within The Sanctuary, Sharon created a bespoke altar, backlit textile lightbox, glazed textile screens framing the view to the sea from the sixth floor of the building and a contemplative wall mural, which was made in collaboration withUCA alumni, photographer Marc Burden.

“What initially inspired my concept were family visits to our ancestral shrine at the limestone temples, Sam Poh Tong in Ipoh, Malaysia,” she said. “And being inspired by Walter Benjamin in ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’.

“One of my favourite pieces are the textile glass panels because this work achieves what I set out to do; to elevate textiles and position in key focal areas of densely populated public buildings and to extend the lifespan of the artwork in situ. Textiles are underused in public spaces as they are prone to rapid deteriorate but textiles can add living qualities to stark environments that no other material can.”

Contemplation by Sharon Ting

Patients and staff have already commented on how much better they feel for visiting the space.

As well as working with Marc Burden Photography, Sharon collaborated with Proto Glass Studios, Orto Print Studios, the London Display Company, and VGL to bring the vision to life.

“Collaboration was key to the development of this commission, and I advocate this approach to my students and team at UCA. We are so fortunate that we work in a vibrant community of creatives where the potential to collaborate exists, she said.

Sharon Ting and Marc Burden. Photo by Matt Livey

Sharon Ting and Marc Burden

To learn more about Sharon’s work, visit the NHS website.

Sharon thanks the commissioners, Willis Newson. Jane Newson and Emily Malin and Brighton & Hove Hospital Trust and the Chaplain team.

Calm by Sharon Ting

Calm by Sharon Ting- These beautiful floor-to-ceiling glass panels in front of the window enhance and frame the view of the sea. The panels cast subtle colour reflections and textured shadows to create a soothing and calm atmosphere. The hand-made textiles encapsulated within them bring a soft, tactile element to the Sanctuary.

Reflection by Marc Burden & Sharon Ting

Reflection by Marc Burden & Sharon Ting - This series of photographs of the Brighton horizon taken at different times of the day invites patients, carers, visitors and staff to reflect by writing messages, thoughts, and memories on cards which they can then place on the shelf underneath the artwork.

Contemplation by Sharon Ting

Contemplation by Sharon Ting - The delicate hand-made textile encased in a backlit wall-mounted box sits behind the altar, containing with interchangeable liturgical themed hand-made textiles, to delineate and honour an area for quiet contemplation.