Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing has been published this week, offering research and recommendations for better integration of arts and cultural activities in health and social care. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW) was formed in 2014 and aims to improve awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing.

During 2015–17, the APPGAHW conducted an Inquiry into practice and research in the arts in health and social care, with a view to making recommendations to improve policy and practice. Its partners in this Inquiry have been the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, King’s College London, the Royal Society for Public Health and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. Its funders were Wellcome, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Inquiry Report, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, presents the findings of two years of research, evidence-gathering and discussions with patients, health and social care professionals, artists and arts administrators, academics, people in local government, ministers, other policy-makers and parliamentarians from both Houses of Parliament. Its recommendations include a call for trainee doctors to study the impacts of arts participation on health.

Citing the work of Voluntary Arts over a number of years, the report notes:

We seek to expand consideration of the arts beyond publicly funded activities and acknowledge the benefits of activities that take place within the home and community, such as crafts and digital creativity. [...] In this report, then, ‘the arts’ is used as shorthand for everyday human creativity, rather than referring to a lofty activity which requires some sort of superior cultural intelligence to access.

Creative Health: The Arts, Health and Wellbeing

Download the full report or view online.

Creative Health: The Arts, Health and Wellbeing - Short Report
Download the short report or view online.

We offer a challenge to habitual thinking and ask for new collaborations to be formed across conventional boundaries. We are calling for an informed and open-minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of the pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems. The evidence we present shows how arts-based approaches can help people to stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions and experience a better quality of life.

Rt Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport, Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

The findings emphasise the positive impact that arts access and participation have on helping people to overcome disadvantage and enjoy healthier lives, and the case studies clearly demonstrate the power that partnerships between health agencies and arts practitioners can have.

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

You can read the full report, short report and find further materials relating to the inquiry on the Arts, Health and Wellbeing website.