Tonic Arts

Enhancing environments and enriching experiences across NHS Lothian

Tonic Arts is our award-winning Arts in Health Programme.

In partnership with NHS Lothian, specialist arts organisations and cross-sector partners, our Tonic Arts team develops programmes of art and design commissions, art collection provision, changing exhibitions, artist residencies, participatory arts activities and performances which enrich experiences and enhance environments.

Established international evidence confirms the role creativity plays within the healthcare context in enriching the healthcare experience for all; saving resources and improving patient experience by reducing the need for pain medication, shortening length of stay, reducing anxiety and depression and improving patient and staff morale.

Together, we use creativity to improve and support the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors, pioneering a culture in which the arts are valued across the service.

Latest News from Tonic Arts

The London Symphony Orchestra in the NHS Project from Edinburgh International Festival. Photo – Mihaela Bodlovic

22 August 2023

London Symphony Orchestra Strikes a Chord with Staff a…

World-renowned London Symphony Orchestra has performed a series of ground-breaking concerts at four hospitals across NHS Lothian as part of […]

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14 July 2023

Western General Hospital staff wellbeing space all wra…

Local independent chocolate artisan, COCO Chocolatier, are helping to enhance NHS Lothian staff wellbeing spaces by transforming their chocolate bar […]

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7 November 2022

NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts programme wins pres…

A stunning collaborative Tonic Arts programme at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh has been announced as joint winner for Best […]

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3 December 2021

Philanthropy Opens Doors For Haematology Patients

A £12.3 million private charitable donation to NHS Lothian Charity has helped transform services for blood cancer patients across South […]

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Tonic Case Studies

Tonic Arts Commission at Edinburgh Haematology Centre called In the Trees

Social and Geographic Context

This case study looks at the stunning Forth-themed Edinburgh Haematology Centre. Stunning artworks throughout the Centre invite the outdoors in and connect beautifully to nature, offering much-needed distraction and providing a sense of therapeutic calm at a time when patients and their families feel at their most vulnerable.
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Tonic Arts Commission at East Lothian Community Hospital called Pony

Context and Place: East Lothian

This case study showcases selected works at East Lothian Community Hospital, where artists, designers, poets and composers drew inspiration from deep rooted community connections, understanding the importance of ‘the local’ in each of their works. Commissions were based on the unique geographic context of East Lothian, working with local artists and taking inspiration from the site, the surrounding landscapes and the local people and wildlife.
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Tonic Arts Commission at East Lothian Community Hospital called The Sanctuary

Crafting of Considered Spaces: Mindful Making

This case study highlights how our commissioned artists approach their work with empathy, creating beautifully crafted artworks and spaces that support people emotionally as well as clinically. There is a healing quality in carefully considered spaces, with art, craft and design placed at the forefront. Providing a sense of calm and distraction, they can transform the patient and visitor experience
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Tonic Arts Commission at East Lothian Community Hospital called Glade

Nature Bathing

This case study highlights how, through a vital connection to the outdoors, a carefully curated use of therapeutic art and design contributes to healing, recovery and a more patient-centred approach to care. Here beautifully crafted installation, photographic, design and video art evoke an immersion in nature to distract viewers, taking them out of distressing situations into a calmer and more tranquil space
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Tonic Arts Commission at East Lothian Community Hospital called Baralettes

Clinical Collaboration

This case study highlights how developing art strategies in close partnership with NHS Lothian hospital departments, patients and local communities can be transformative to patient care and experience. Working with key groups, Tonic Arts implemented a holistic strategy for East Lothian Community Hospital to create compassionate environments where creativity was integral to physical and emotional healing.
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Tonic Projects

Art And Therapeutic Design To Enhance Patient Experience

Thanks to you, our amazing supporters, we were able to fund £2million worth of art and design enhancements to the […]

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Providing Art And Activity Packs For Patients During Visiting Restrictions

Thanks to generous donations received through our NHS Lothian COVID-19 Appeal and grants from NHS Charities Together, we have been […]

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NHS Lothian staff member in a garden, head up, thinking

Supporting Staff Wellbeing Through Creative Filmmaking

Our Tonic Arts team launched a series of documentary style short films featuring NHS Lothian staff telling their stories of what life […]

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Supporting The Equalities Networks Through A Programme Of Creative Engagements

Thanks to our fantastic donors and grants received from NHS Charities Together, we have been able to fund this amazing […]

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What’s your haven?

Our Tonic Arts and Green Health programmes, in partnership with Stills Gallery, are proud to present ‘Havens’ – a series of portraits and stories documenting NHS Lothian staff members’ work-life experiences. More specifically – uncovering the places where they find time for quiet within their hectic work life.

What’s on

Our Common Humanity by artist Juli Bolaños-Durman

9 May 2022 – 6 October 2023 / Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP

Our Common Humanity

This beautiful glass installation by Juli Bolanos-Durman (@julibd_com ) was shaped by community engagement with art and highlights the very […]

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1 March 2022 – 30 September 2022 / Anne Ferguson Gallery, Western General Hospital, Crewe Rd South, Edinburgh EH4 2XU

Plants that Heal

‘Plants That Heal’ by Kate Hajducka showcases the amazing watercolours that Kate painted as part of the 100 Days Project […]

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12 October 2021 – 31 March 2022 / Pelican Gallery, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Cres, Old Dalkeith Rd, Edinburgh EH16 4SA

Portraits in a pandemic

Our Portraits in a Pandemic Exhibition features portraits were produced free of charge by artists across the UK to show […]

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1 March 2022 – 30 June 2022 / Royal Edinburgh Building Gallery, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Pl, Edinburgh EH10 5HF

Beneath the Mask

“Beneath the Mask” was an arts-based project run with mental health nurses. It is outcome of an ongoing research collaboration […]

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1 November 2021 – 31 July 2022 / Dott Gallery, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Cres, Old Dalkeith Rd, Edinburgh EH16 4SA

Cajal Embroidery Project: In Celebration of Neuroscience

The Cajal Embroidery Project was conceived to honour the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Cajal Institute in 1920. […]

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16 March 2022 – 30 June 2022 / Link Gallery, St John’s Hospital, Howden W Rd, Howden, Livingston EH54 6PP

Walk Don’t Walk

Walk Don’t Walk is a vibrant exhibition brightening the walls of the Link Gallery at St John’s Hospital Livingston. It […]

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Find out more about our Tonic Arts programme by visiting our dedicated microsite:

Tonic Commissions

We support and manage arts, design and selected Greenspace commissioning programmes, developed with patient and staff engagement and collaboration.

Tonic Participation

We aim to increase participation in art and creativity activities across the Lothians with a dynamic interdisciplinary programme incorporating all artforms and cross-sector partnerships, including close collaboration with the Charity’s Green Health and NHS Lothian Volunteer teams.

woman dancing with patient in hospital

Tonic Exhibitions

We curate temporary exhibitions at seven gallery spaces across six NHS Lothian hospital sites. Our programme aims to showcase a dynamic and diverse range of artworks including patient and staff work alongside professional and commissioned work.

Tonic Collection

The Art Collection plays an important role in the improved health and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors with over 2,500 artworks displayed across over 40 NHS Lothian sites.

Tonic Arts Collection, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Glesshoose (c) Lindsay Perth, photo by Peter Dibdin

Find out more about our plans to continue to use art and creativity to have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.