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About Arts and Health

Organisations, artists and therapists have long delivered Arts and Health programs that support people to maintain and restore their health and wellbeing. The work is defined by its participatory nature and the desire to achieve artistic outcomes along with social, health and wellbeing outcomes.  The Arts can include, but are not limited to the following: music, writing, dance, theater, film, and visual arts. Now, as referenced in the National Arts and Health Framework, there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that arts participation benefits the health of individuals and communities.   A number of major community arts and cultural development organisations, health organisations and local governments, develop arts initiatives that directly contribute to the health and wellbeing of communities and individuals.  These initiatives are delivered by artists, health professionals, music therapists, art therapists and educators to name a few.

Traditionally Arts and Health practice is identified with hospital settings and the practice of Arts and Health as a specialised aspect of Community and Cultural Development (CACD) work that has emerged in the last decade.  The practice focuses on using the arts to improve physical and mental health, encourage healthy behavior and support people to invest in their own wellness across the lifespan through the arts.

About Us

Established in 2006, The Institute for Creative Health has grown to be one of the leading arts and health agencies in Australia and is recognised worldwide, largely due to our work leading the development of the National Arts and Health Framework.   We are a national independent, not for-profit Australian organisation that advocates for the arts to be delivered within health and social service organisations and the broader community.  We develop arts projects that improve people’s health and wellbeing and support practitioners and organisations to better deliver arts and health programs.

We maintain rigorous governance and effective project management skills to deliver arts and health projects nationally. We are a resilient, committed and resourceful organisation with two appointed positions (an Executive Director and Sector Development/Liaison Manager), contracted project artists, a Board of Directors, five Ambassadors who include high profile artists, arts and health, and research individuals and a consumer advocate, a cohort of volunteers and committed pro-bono service providers.

The Institute for Creative Health works collaboratively and in partnership with a range of others including past and current partners; Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Sydney, Westfund Health, Notre Dame University, NSW Health, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Ausdance Victoria and VicHealth. Our pro-bono supporters include PricewaterhouseCoopers and Henry Davis York.

More recently The Institute has established State and Territory Arts and Health Leadership Groups and a Donor Advisory Group, both of which contribute to our advocacy, program development and the sustainability of the organisation. 


A Simple Overview

Check out our Arts and Health infographic that provides a simple view of Arts and Health.


Arts and Health Definition – from the National Arts and Health Framework (NAHF)

In its broadest sense, arts and health refers to the practice of applying arts initiatives to health problems and health promoting settings. It involves all art forms and may be focused at any point in the health care continuum. It also has an impact on the determinants of ill health by changing individuals’ attitudes to health risks and supporting community resilience.

Arts and health initiatives can be delivered across a range of settings. Benefits can accrue for all stakeholders including government, health service providers, artists, those in health care and the wider community and include improved communication, better understanding, attitudinal change and clinical outcomes. Arts and health activities have their effect through different means and are achieved through experiencing the arts as an artist or creator, as a participant or member of an audience.

 National Arts and Health Framework


Arts and Health Around Australia and the World

Research: We maintain a list of research documents from around the world.

Projects and Programs:  Check out Arts and Health projects that are happening around Australia.

PlaceStories Arts and Health Page


Arts and Health Organisations

There are a range of organisations situated in Australia and around the world that can provide more information about Arts and Health.