Practising art can heal

The Healing Arts – a platform that addresses the growing mental health crisis

From lifting morale and emotional release in theatre, this initiative goes a step further: The Healing Arts is a fundraising platform and an educational programme that addresses the growing mental health crisis exacerbated by Covid-19 including societal and environmental health as part of a WHO series of events. In a week of activations in London, leading artists, architects and front-line workers shared how they know that practicing art can heal. Recordings can still be accessed on the website including a discussion between researchers, practitioners and policy makers about what the verifiable evidence is that art heals. More activation programmes will happen in other cities around the world in 2021 and 2022. As part of the event, Tate Britain raised artist Agnes Denes’ flag “The Future is Fragile, Handle with Care.”


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What outcomes for culture on referral programmes?

Culture on referral (or art on prescription) programmes have been gaining increased popularity in the cultural and health sector as a way of addressing health and wellbeing needs.

The Centre for Cultural Value in the UK has done an assessment of published literature on culture on referral to understand what evidence there is for the value of such programmes.

They conclude that “Overall, while there is promising evidence that there is a positive role for culture on referral programmes in improving wellbeing outcomes, there is a need to understand the specific value of culture on referral programmes compared to other group-based activities. There is also a need to understand the role of specific cultural on referral programmes, such as dance or visual participatory arts, and which of these programmes is most appropriate for differing health and wellbeing needs.”

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Are museums good for your mental health?

Some might say it depends whether you are a visitor or staff ;)… On a more serious note, “Mental wellness has become one of the most pressing issues of our time,” and we know that the benefits of museums go far beyond having an enjoyable day out. They provide knowledge, inspiration, and social benefits. Do they also improve mental health? This article cites some examples of museums actively working to improve mental health within local communities with good results.
And here is another example, V&A Dundee in Scotland working with visitors with dementia.

Image: Ian Dooley on Unsplash

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