Public art commission: a call to artists to create installation in Gloucester Royal Hospital

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust is looking to commission an artist to create a permanent installation celebrating the life-changing gift of organ and tissue donation.


Organ transplantation is one of medicine’s great success stories, transforming thousands of lives each year. And yet, tragically, on average 3 people a day die in the UK because not enough organs are available.

Currently in the UK there is approximately 7,000 patients on the National Transplant Waiting list in need of the following organs; kidney, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas or a combination. 

Thanks to the generosity of 1,281 donors In the UK between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 the following was possible:

  • 3,341 organ transplants were carried out,
  • 2,105 patients' lives were dramatically improved by a kidney or pancreas transplant, 173 of whom received a combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
  • 180 patients received a heart transplant
  • 185 patients received a lung transplant
  • 829 patients received a liver transplant

Organ donation occurs at a time of great emotional distress.  But by donating organs after death, brings comfort to the families of the donors and the lives of desperately ill people can be saved, helped and transformed.

Organ Donation at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust

Currently within Gloucestershire there are 118 patients in need of an organ transplant and these patients are the ones that are able to be on the waiting list, many don’t survive to be listed.

During 2014-2015 a total of 43 Gloucestershire patients received life saving organ transplants. A further 76 patients within the local area received sight saving surgery using donated eye tissue. 

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust is keen to recognise organ donations as the last and perhaps greatest gift given by patient’s families as well as highlighting Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust specialist organ donor services.  Last year, 22 patients in the UK received a life saving organ tranplant as a direct result of the kindness and aulteristic gifts given by Gloucestershire families. 

The Gift of Life

This will be a high profile, large-scale art installation suspended in the aerial void of the Atrium of the main entrance at Gloucester Royal Hospital. The site-specific piece will be a way of recognising and thanking all the organ and tissue donors and their families for their extraordinary gifts. As well as being an aesthetically absorbing and engaging piece — to be enjoyed by patients, staff and visitors — in its own right, it also needs to be a point of interest that raises awareness of the value of donation.

Technical specifications

As the commission is to conceive, create and install a large-scale suspended installation in a busy public space, health and safety is an important consideration. Thought will need to be given to the weight of the materials and the way in which the piece will be anchored, as will any ongoing cleaning and maintenance. To be selected, you will, therefore, need to demonstrate your technical proficiency, experience and an understanding of what is achievable within the fixed budget. 

The finished piece could also extend up the wall as well asbeing suspended using the height of the space to good effect.  It is important that the message ‘The Gift of Life’  is integrated into the art piece.  



This budget is fixed and will need to cover everything, from patient and staff consultations, design, development and build/fabrication, through to transport and installation.

Expression of interest

At this stage, we are looking for an expression of interest that includes: 

  1. A brief covering letter telling us why you should be considered
  2. A draft concept and brief overview of your approach to the commission, no more than one side of A4,
  3. Examples of previous work
  4. A current CV 

Please email these to:

The closing date for submissions is 21 September 2015

We will forward a full brief, with a proposed schedule and interview dates to all short-listed artists by Mid October.

The installation is planned for completion in March 2016.

Reference material:

Links to organ donation pages

 You can download a pdf of this brief, including photographs of the public space, here