Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital made fortune-telling games to share their hopes and wishes for the future

As part of an ongoing series of partnership projects with GOSH Arts at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), for the first time the Museum worked with children living with serious cardiac conditions, and their families. Artist Davina Drummond worked with families on Bear Ward at GOSH to create fantasy fortune-telling games inspired by photographer Mark Neville’s project Child’s Play. The project was developed to help patients and families address their experiences of treatment, enhance their spiritual and emotional wellbeing, and provide a high quality cultural experience for hospitalised children.

The project explored the institutionalised play evidenced at the Foundling Hospital and experienced by the patients undergoing treatment at GOSH, and took inspiration from Victorian fortune-telling machines once found in London hospitals. Patients created their own versions of traditional fortune-telling games into which they incorporated their personal experiences as GOSH families with their hopes and dreams for the future. Engaging in the project gave the patients an opportunity to say something about their treatment, encouraging the children and parents to reflect on their futures in a positive and enjoyable way.

Since 2014 the Foundling Museum and GOSH Arts have worked in partnership to undertake a series of artist-led projects with children at the hospital, designed to enhance young patients’ experience as part of the holistic care provided. Responding to the legacy of the Foundling Hospital, the children have worked directly with visual artists to create animations and works of art addressing their personal experiences of hospital.