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Highlighted Research

The Language of Leadership

Helentherese Good , Developed as part of a the Churchill Trust of Australia Fellowship

What’s it like to be a fly on the wall in the rehearsal halls and board rooms of some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras? Helentherese Good, a violinist, knows, because she spent the early months of 2016 observing and talking with dozens of successful musicians and administrators across Europe, the US and the UK. For the first time ever, work practices of unconducted ensembles have been compared in one study which forms a best practice guide to effective rehearsal, innovative performance and deep public connection. The paper gathers proven and practical tips for any group wishing to improve and develop while enriching their broader community; and will be an undoubted source of useful information for performers across the world. Uniquely written from a performer’s perspective, Ms Good’s findings include: 

  • Top tips for effective rehearsals
  • Communication techniques to end those interpersonal relationship blues.
  • Creative plans to engage experienced and new audiences.
  • And a step-by-step guide to building a community presence across education, social welfare and health sectors.

Arts for health and wellbeing - An evaluation framework

Public Health England, The University of Winchester, Aesop - Arts Enterprise with a Social Purpose

This document provides guidance on appropriate ways of documenting the impacts of arts for health and wellbeing, whether through small scale project evaluations or large scale research studies. It suggests a standard framework for reporting of project activities that will strengthen understanding of what works in specific contexts and enable realistic assessment and appropriate comparisons to be made between programmes.

NSW Health and the Arts Framework

NSW Department of Health

In 2016 the NSW Health Department appointed a Ministerial Taskforce to develop the NSW Health and the Arts Framework.  The document aims to improve the health of the community through integrating the arts into design and delivery of health services and public health messaging.   Further details can be found via this link 

Examination of the Use of the Arts to Improve Health and Healing in Western Australian Hospitals

Prepared by Kim Gibson and Liesbeth Goedhart for the WA Arts and Health Consortium

The first Consortium project sought to map and measure the current level of engagement, support and investment by WA hospitals in Arts and Health activities in order to better understand the extent to which the arts are contributing to the delivery of health services in Western Australian (WA) hospitals and to the health and wellbeing of patients, their families, visitors and staff.

There is a significant, global body of work on Arts and Health. This report draws on that evidence as well as the National Arts and Health Framework to develop a local approach for the West Australian context. In particular, this report aims to assist hospitals and arts organisations with future strategies to engage more effectively with each other in developing Arts and Health practice in WA consistent with the National Framework.


The Role of the Modern Curator in Hospital

Hilary Moss



The arts play a significant role in every society and culture, from the earliest societies to modern life. However, in healthcare settings, there is often an absence of normal access to the arts and hospitals can arguably be described as aesthetically deprived environments [1, 2]. Recent studies indicate a neglect of the aesthetic environment by hospital policy makers and a lack of access to and control of aesthetic interests for patients in hospital [3-5]. The importance, or not, attached to the role of the arts in healthcare can be viewed as a split between politicians and policy makers who value the ‘instrumental value’ of the arts, and cultural professionals who are dedicated to the ‘intrinsic value’ of the arts. Hospital Curators, or Arts Managers, are a relatively recent phenomenon, whereby the arts are introduced in hospitals to address both the intrinsic value of the arts in the public space of hospital as well as to meet certain health promotion or clinical aims. The role of the curator in hospitals is a particularly complicated one, given the pressure for evidence based practice to fund any healthcare activity and the constraints on spending within tight health budgets. The subjective nature of the experience of art in hospital, and the many stakeholders, contribute to the delicate role played by hospital arts managers and curators. O’Neill proposes that the key issue for curators is not actually the conflict between instrumental and intrinsic values, but how expert arts curators make their specialist contribution while at the same time fostering the wellbeing all in the hospital.

Visual Embodiment of Psychosis: Ethical Concerns in Performing Difficult Experiences

Katherine M. Boydell - Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Carmela Solimine - The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Siona Jackson - Dance Choreographer, Toronto

Abstract:  Arts-based health research has increased dramatically in recent years. Many academics are collaborating across disciplines including health and social sciences, humanities and the arts. Using artistic modes of research representation allows for a different way of participating and may enhance the likelihood of making an impact (negative or positive) on the audience and, consequently, on artists and researchers. This paper focuses on the concept of ‘dangerous emotional terrain’, used to describe the potential negative impacts of using the arts, in this case dance, in research dissemination. We focus on a seldom-explored area – the impact on artists embodying research results of difficult lived experiences. The potential for harm to performers engaging in arts-based research requires consideration. Actors and other artists and their experiences of depicting suffering and pain, for example, remain relatively unexplored. What are our responsibilities to performers taking on this role? What are the ethical implications of engaging in such work? This paper explores these questions and identifies four strategies to tackle emotional impact: reflexive practice, creation of a safe and supportive environment, address issues of audience, and focus on balance between types of performance, and between work and home.

Reflecting upon the value of Arts & Health & a new approach for the East Midlands 2011-2013

Derbyshire Community Health Services, Leicester City Primary Care NHS Trust, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

This document has been produced within a wide ranging partnership. The following organisations based within the region were at the core of this partnership:

  • Big Difference Company
  • Derbyshire Community Health Services
  • Leicester City Primary Care NHS Trust
  • Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

In addition, Managers in Partnership (MiP), the national trade union for healthcare managers, has supported the project.
Much of the work within this document has centred on the geographical areas covered by those NHS organisations listed above; however contributions have come from across the East Midlands Region and beyond.

Without these contributions this document could not have been produced.

This partnership would also like to thank following individuals:

Dr. Clive Parkinson (Manchester Metropolitan University), Marisa Howes (MiP), Carole Devaney (NHS Leicester City), Jane Tuxworth (Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), Kay Bradley (Derbyshire Community Health Services), Geoff Rowe (Big Difference Company), Anna Peavitt (Big Difference Company), Maya Biswas (Big Difference Company) Ashley Scattergood (Big Difference Company), Tim Sayers, Lydia Towsey (both Brightsparks) Alison Bowry (High Peak Community Arts), Gaynor Nash, Glenis Willmott MEP, Paddy Casswell (Glenis Willmott MEP’s Office), Jane Millum (EMPAF), Alex Gymer (Cave Consulting), Vince Atwood (Soft Touch), Christina Wigmore (Soft Touch), Jacob Wesley (Soft Touch), Theo Stickley (University of Nottingham) and many others for their professional and moral support.

Arts, Health and Wellbeing. Personal Reflections and Political Perspectives

Lord Howarth of Newport

This keynote address was presented by Lord Howarth of Newport, at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference  in Bristol (June 2013). This address is a comprehensive overview  of the development of the UK  arts and health sector  and its current status. More importantly it  presents an eloquent and intellectually rigorous approach to the  contemporary political tensions  that impact on our attitudes to social capital and the effects it has on healthcare delivery.

Arts & Health Research Summary – Part 1

Helen Zigmond

Prepared by Helen Zigmond for The Institute for Creative Health .

Current Arts and Health Sector overview, key organisations and websites: Annotated bibliography by Helen Zigmond.

Arts & Health Research Summary – Part 2

Helen Zigmond

Prepared by Helen Zigmond for The Institute for Creative Health .

A collection of research studies on Arts and Health.

Other Research Papers

Playsongs and Lullabies: features of emotional communication

Alison Liew Creighton

My project aims to increase an understanding of how playsongs and lullabies facilitate emotional communication and contribute positively to the mother-infant relationship. Multiple facets will be examined including the (1) behavioural features of various dimensions or qualities of musical interaction, (2) musical features associated to various dimensions of interaction, (3) subjective/personal experience of singing songs and (4) physiological (via heart rate) features of interaction.

Alison Liew Creighton from University of Western Sydney

BrightHearts: Evaluating Interactive Art as a tool

Dr Angie Morrow

Dr George Khut and Dr Angie Morrow are undertaking research to design and evaluate the efficacy of a heart-rate controlled interactive (biofeedback) artwork to assist in the management and reduction of pain and anxiety experienced by children undergoing painful, recurrent clinical procedures.

Dr Angie Morrow from University of Technology Sydney

Interactive Music Technology for Distraction, Entertainment and Well-being for Hospitalised Young People

Samantha Ewart from University of Western Sydney

The PhD will investigate the ways in which patients within a hospital environment can be distracted from boredom and contribute to there overall well-being during their hospital stay. This will be achieved through an interactive digital music-making device. Collaboration on system design will occur through workshops that explore individual needs for patients. We hope that the devices which we collaborate, create and modify that the patients will continue to develop and achieve positive outcomes.

Place, matter and meaning: Extending the relations

Patricia Fenner from La Trobe University

Discourse in psychotherapeutic practice has typically focussed on technique and the therapeutic relationship. The setting in which psychological therapies occur has attracted little research attention to date. What we have understood as relationship may need to be expanded to include aspects of the material environment as constitutive in the dynamic process of psychotherapy.

The Role of Art Making in Mental Health

Theresa Van Lith

The aim of this report was to advance understandings of the relationship between art making and mental health recovery. A variety of research methods were used including: an in-depth review of the literature, an audit of current arts-based programs provided in the two participating psychosocial rehabilitation organisations, in-depth interviews of both staff and consumers, and development of a conceptual framework that integrated the findings from these varied methods. The study created a rich account of the different roles that art making plays in mental health recovery. In doing this, it has held to the basic principles of the recovery movement and privilege of the consumer voice.

Theresa Van Lith from La Trobe University
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Images of Home

Dr Michelle Duffy

This is project invited children from Officer Primary School to explore what living in Cardinia Shire\’s growth corridors means in terms ‘home’ in a rapidly changing environment. After recording everyday sounds,the children talked to us about what made these sounds meaningful to them, then worked with the sound designer to create a sound art piece. Recordings were made in and around Officer Primary School, including the Rythdale Officer Cardinia Football Club, and Officer Primary school grounds.

Dr Michelle Duffy from Monash

Art Research in Catholic Healthcare

Associate Professor Lindsay Farrell

The aim of the Art Research in Catholic Healthcare (ARCH) project is to formally evaluate the impact of art within the Catholic healthcare setting on spiritual wellbeing, including sense of meaning and purpose. It will use surveys and stakeholder discussions to measure the effect of art in Catholic healthcare. This study is underway to investigate the way people in Catholic Healthcare settings respond to the art they see around them. The term ‘art’ is considered to include paintings, sculptures and other decorations within the healthcare facility.

Associate Professor Lindsay Farrell from Australian Catholic University (Brisbane Campus)

Growing up with cancer

Associate Professor Ian Kerridge

Our research involved 20 cancer survivors (aged 15-30 years) participating in research and creative activities. Working with a visual artist (Kris Smith), they created self-portraits; mixed media, graphic, photographic, and musical representations of themselves and their cancer journey. Interviews with a researcher provided material for the generation of self-portraits, while exploratory work during the creative process generated reflections for subsequent interviews.

Associate Professor Ian Kerridge from University of Sydney and University of Newcastle, Australia

Aesthetics for Visual Arts in Hospitals

Dr Jillian Gates from University of Sydney

This thesis is the outcome of this original inquiry and examines the questions, how canvisual arts be received in hospitals? and how does western society represent illness and death? These questions explores how patients, their family members, and carers respond to art in hospitals, while acknowledging their discomfort experienced in hospital settings. This inquiry took the form of a comparative case study between Balmain and Wyong Hospitals, NSW, Australia. The aim of the study was to produce a reflective and empathetic response to elderly patients in waiting rooms as a mode to investigate the potential of evidence based art for hospitals. The intention was to produce a series of digital photographs that reflected the art pref erence of elderly patients. The out comes of the study uncovered the patients waiting experience and recorded their levels of discomfort. It established the potential and significance of landscape photography in hospital waiting rooms to create a less threatening environment. The participants selected landscapes as their preferred subject matter for visual arts in hospitals. The study contributes to Australian arts health research by comparing Australian arts health projects to international examples. These comparisons indicate that further research is required to comprehensively understand the hospital waiting experience of Australian patients, and their family members in order to create visual arts that they can appreciate and respond to.

Effectiveness of Participative Community Singing Intervention Program on Promoting Resilience and Mental Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia

Dr. Jing Sun

Citation for the article: Sun, J. & Buys, N. (2012). Effectiveness of participative community singing intervention program on promoting resilience and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Essential Notes in Psychiatry, Dr. Victor Olisah (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0574-9, InTech, Available from: of participative community singing intervention program on promoting resilience and me.