Arts & Health
Everyone that works in the arts and culture sector know that engaging with the arts; be it theatre, visual arts, making crafts and the like; can have a massive benefit to peoples wellbeing and health.
As detailed in the breakthrough report Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing by Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, arts and culture are making great steps in helping to keep people well, aid recovery and support longer lives. From mental health to physical health the arts and culture sector is riding this 21st century revolution.
Music therapy, for example, has been found to reduce agitation and the need for medication in 67% of people with dementia. An arts-on-prescription project has seen a 37% drop in GP consultation rates and a 27% reduction in hospital admissions. And, a study conducted within deprived communities in London found that, of those people who engaged with the arts, 79% ate more healthily and 77% engaged in more physical activity and 82% enjoyed greater wellbeing (cited from the Creative Health: The Arts for Health Wellbeing report).
Organisations like the NHS have already produced reports such as ‘Art for health – A review of good practice in community-based arts projects and initiatives which impact on health and wellbeing’ that can help you understand the mindset behind the subject, and in the South West we have organisations like Arts & Health South West who can provide support and resources for you.
Of course it is no surprise that art providers, practitioners, and art centres in Somerset and beyond have been seeing this on the frontline for years, but have only been able to access data that supports their claims.
So, now we have reached a new era of arts provision. An opportunity for arts and culture organisations to reskill, create new services and work across sectors.
We can create greater impact for individuals and communities, but to do this we must measure impact and though you should configure these measurements before and after you deliver an arts and health project you can also use national data to help you compare and measure in greater detail.
Here we provide some resources to this important and growing subject, but should you wish to discuss this further, require help to find funding or want to find partners, please do get in touch:
- AHSW toolkits & guidance
- Research and evaluation at CHWA
- Evidence NHS on Arts & Health from NICE
- Social prescribing guidance published for health and care professionals
- Arts for health and wellbeing: An evaluation framework
- Arts Council Arts & Health Library
At Somerset Arts Business Cultural Alliance, we are working hard to develop a case for supporting programmes for those who provide arts and health activities and how we can develop closer partnerships with commissioners and funders. Should you wish to be involved then do sign up as a member. It is free to join.