Second year students were set the challenge of transforming the Plymouth Child Development Centre
Students from the University of Plymouth have worked to transform an NHS centre into a space that is more welcoming and friendly for children and families.
Second year students from the Illustration course were set the challenge of coming up with a fresh new look for the Plymouth Child Development Centre.
The results, launched earlier this month, are centred around an underwater theme featuring a range of marine creatures and some species not normally found in the ocean.
It also includes interactive displays, providing further information on the creatures displayed, as well as a seaweed QR code wall which signposts to other helpful resources for families.
The scheme was developed in close collaboration with staff who work in the centre, and some of the children and families who use it on a regular basis.

Throughout their course, we give our students experience of real-world projects the like of which they will encounter through their careers. It gives them the opportunity to apply the skills they are developing to a set brief, and to then adapt their thinking and ideas in response to client feedback. This has been a great example of such a project, and we are immensely proud of the students who took part and the final result.

John KilburnJohn Kilburn
Lecturer in Illustration

The Plymouth Child Development Centre, based on the Scott Business Park, is used to diagnose and treat a range of behavioural conditions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, staff working in the centre had to remove some of its décor in line with the elevated infection protection control measures.
Once the restrictions were lifted, the team started to receive comments about the building not being very welcoming to children, young people and their families.
This led them to contact the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business, and after conversations with lecturers on the Illustration course they co-developed a project to first organise the work, and then create the new design.
Students from the course were involved in developing the plans, working closely with Emma Fawkes, Lead Nurse for Children’s Bladder and Bowel Care, and Dr George Davis, Lead for the Children’s Psychological Health and Wellbeing team, at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.
They received feedback from NHS staff, as well as children and families using the centre, which was then incorporated into the detailed design process.
The final design was created by students Mia Ingleby and Martha Pengelley and, in addition to the marine theme, it features dinosaurs following several requests from the young people.
A series of crabs have been located to help patients and visitors find their way around the centre, and some of the patients were able to get involved by creating seahorses which have been hung up in the centre.
These interactive features help the young patients who attend the centre feel more comfortable and less anxious about attending appointments.
Staff based in the centre and other students from the University also helped with the painting work, and Emma Fawkes said: “This was a collaborative piece of work – a real team effort. We really appreciate all of the people who gave up their time to help support and paint, and are proud of the work they have done.”

Developing the artwork from sketches to murals

Second year students were set the challenge of transforming the Plymouth Child Development Centre
Second year students were set the challenge of transforming the Plymouth Child Development Centre
Second year students were set the challenge of transforming the Plymouth Child Development Centre

Find out more about our illustration courses

With excellent award-winning, staff contact and access to traditional workshops and cutting-edge digital facilities, we provide an atmosphere of adventure and enquiry within a studio context. Small and intimate in numbers; yet broad and outward looking in attitude.
We help students to discover their own direction and individual voice via a series of challenging and stimulating projects and practical workshops.
Ashley Potter illustration
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