Throughout the years participatory arts projects have been observed to make a significant contribution to the health and well-being of communities. Simultaneously, there has been mounting evidence, bespoken by both arts and health bodies, to show that creativity and the arts do indeed make a significant difference to people’s health and well-being and to how they feel about, and interact with, their neighbours.
In times of austerity, there is also a need to draw on that evidence to develop principles and recommendations for bodies wishing to commission, and artists wishing to lead, participatory or public art initiatives that are most likely to result in sustained benefit to local people and communities.
Engaging in the arts can be beneficial for both mental and physical health. A living testimony to that is the wellbeing and arts event that kicked off last 11 November in Helsinki, Finland. This is a key conclusion of a new WHO Regional Office for Europe report analyzing the evidence from over 900 global publications – the most comprehensive review of evidence on arts and health to date.
The event was comprised of experts, policy makers, practitioners and users who discussed the role of arts interventions in healthcare.
The event was livestreamed and can be viewed here: