Guest blog: Laura Waters introduces Air Arts' Superheroes project

a cartoon of facilities manager Jackie Marriot as the superhero 'domestic goddess'
Matt Roberts for Air Arts


We have recently been working with Derby photographer and illustrator, Matt Roberts, to create some fun staff photos featuring cartoon characters as part of our current exhibition ‘wellbeing in the workplace’. The work was installed along with the rest of the new staff art exhibition the week before lockdown. Matt is not only an illustrator but also a trumpeter as part of the Tritones Jazz Trio who also perform regularly at the hospital.

The photoshoot and resulting images had created a really good feeling amongst the staff who took part so when the world turned upside down a week or so later, we wanted to do something to bring some of that feeling back at a time when they need it most.

All of our staff are working really hard at the moment and need to feel our immense gratitude for what they do. So many people are going above and beyond and we wanted to celebrate those people who were inspiring others and being such a positive force so we decided to turn them into super heroes.

It’s a bit of fun, but is also an important morale boost for everyone. Anyone can be nominated and Matt our illustrator uses a few pieces of key information about them to create a personalised image. The work will be shared across the teams through social media and through the hospital comms team.

We are also planning to share the work in a ‘hospital heroes’ exhibition next March when we will also share staff stories, patient artwork and work based around Florence Nightingale.

All of our work will also be available in a virtual gallery and of course each superhero will be able to keep the framed picture as a memento after the exhibition.

Laura Waters is Arts Programme Manager at Derby Teaching Hospitals

Image of two nurses with a cartoon sun behind them, by Matt Roberts, from Air Arts' Wellbeing in the Workplace exhibition
By Matt Roberts, from Air Arts' Wellbeing in the Workplace exhibition