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engage 39

Visual Arts and Wellbeing

‘It’s a great time to be talking about arts and health. From where I sit it’s a time of new energy, new creativity and new determination.’ Tim Joss, founder and Chief Executive of Aesop, an incubator of arts enterprises with a social purpose, at ‘The Art of Health in Wales’ Conference, 2016. www.ae-sop.org

Joss’s optimism is understandable at a time when there are innumerable inspiring arts and wellbeing projects, a surge in organisations and networks focused on arts in health and wellbeing, and significant policy initiatives in different parts of the globe.

Despite around forty years of work to try and get the role of the arts in health adopted in mainstream healthcare, the arts are still seen by the vast majority of arts professionals as ‘fluff’; very nice but totally unable to deliver robust health outcomes. Whereas art therapy, which is a different but complementary area of work, has become accepted and is widely practiced. Now – and since the publication of engage Journal issue 30 on the topic of Arts and Healthcare in the summer of 2012 - the agenda has expanded from health to a much broader concept of wellbeing. In doing so the range of work encompassed by arts in health and wellbeing has also expanded, as have the challenges.


Cite this issue

engage 39: Visual Arts and Wellbeing
Spring 2017
Published by engage, London

engage 39

Browse by article

Jane Sillis

Editor's Introduction
Barbara Dougan

Creativity, connection and soul joy: postcards from the land of the long white cloud
Amber Walls and Asha Munn

Manchester Art Gallery: The Mindful Museum
Louise Thompson

Better futures in visual arts and wellbeing
Lucy Medhurst

The Making of meaning: bringing together applied psychoanalytic thinking and the visual arts to support emotional and mental wellbeing
Lyn French, with Shiraz Bayjoo, Camilla Waldburg and Prue Barnes-Kemp

Reports, data, trust and relationships:Where do we look for evidence that we can trust about the impact and effectiveness of a project: the voice of a participant, hard data, a well-told story of change, photo documentation?
Heather Kay

A new perspective
Sharon Paulger and Jason Impey

Practice makes research, makes better practice: Participatory visual arts as a therapeutic inpatient rehabilitation intervention for stroke
Chris Kelly with Dr Jacqui Morris

Health as narrative: using visual language to move beyond binaries of health and ill health
Josie Vallely

Stimulating the positive health of older adults through the Art Makes Man outreach programme
Marjolein Gysels, Hélène de Koekkoek and Marthe de Vet

Something remains for us to do or dare: cultural entitlement in older age
Jayne E. Howard

Movement and photography: an artistic collaboration in sheltered housing
Rachel Cherry

No it’s not me…that’s not me…
Helen O'Donoghue and Marie Brett

How can we develop arts and health practice? An artist and curator in conversation
Niki Colclough and Elizabeth Wewiora

‘Now I use colours not pills to calm me down’ - An NHS community-based gallery that embraces the concept of mental health recovery
Anna Croucher

Blue Room: Inclusive Arts at Bluecoat
Becky Waite

Contributors' details


engage Journal issue 39

engage 39: Visual Arts and Wellbeing

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