young people shaping arts elements of new hospital


Sydney Children's Hospital Stage 1 and Minderoo Children's Comprehensive Cancer Centre project consultant City People is helping to ensure the new building will have unique arts, play and discovery components to engage and inspire visitors, with the valuable input of young people.

The concept incorporates physical, sensory and emotional elements that impact how children and young people interact, learn and entertain themselves.  

"If every step in this journey can be filtered through a playful lens, there is the opportunity to inject moments of curiosity, creativity and lifelong learning into an experience that can often be pretty stressful," said City People Director, Michael Cohen. 

This is not just for children and young people; it is for families and staff too. When imaginatively curated, comprehensively planned and implemented, these elements can have a lasting positive health impact on clinical processes and models of care," said Michael.   

Extensive community and stakeholder engagement has taken place to facilitate the collaborative design of the hospital’s art elements, including consultation with children and young people through special committee meetings, workshops and interviews.  

A range of sessions were conducted with children, redevelopment team representatives, staff and Aboriginal community members, with hands-on art workshops held with current and former patients. The sessions were documented by the young people, who acted as news reporters.  

"My favourite part was working with the adults to make concepts and come up with ideas for the future hospital," said one of the participants, 12-year-old Isla Ren.

"I want it to be fun for the kids and young people. Some people are there for a long time, so I don’t want it to be boring or scary. It should be somewhere that they can play,” added Isla. 

Several themes emerged from the workshops, highlighting that children are particularly interested in learning about biology, taking inspiration from nature and exploring digital platforms and social connections.  

A curatorial plan has been developed from the consultation and workshops. The work will be used to finalise arts, play and discovery elements at the hospital and to select artists to carry out the work.  

Check out our video to learn more about the workshops through the eyes of the 'Kids Reporters’ who participated.