Conditions

DrawingThe evidence you’ll find on this site includes both clinical and anecdotal research. Much of it is from projects that had specific health/social welfare aims, and involved professional practitioners – but it also points to benefits that could be gained from participating in creativity through voluntary arts groups. We have excluded information about arts therapies, as this is a professional discipline in its own right.

Many practitioners argue that that clinical/causal evidence gives only a limited view. It looks at arts as a form of treatment, rather than for their impact on people’s mental health and wider wellbeing, captured through people’s own testimonies. This site will give you a short-cut to both types of evidence, as well as signposts to creative activities in your patients’ locality.

You may also like to visit www.cultureandwellbeing.org.uk for a searchable database of research, practical advice and contacts covering all aspects of arts in health.

Please note: There are many long-term conditions (defined by the Department of Health as ones that can’t at present be cured, but can be controlled). We’ve focused on those for which there is the most evidence relating to creativity. We’re keen to hear about other research – please use the comments box below to contact us
Photo courtesy of Darlington Openart Studio.

Conditions

Cancer

Creative process helps women cope with cancer

A qualitative study in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy (June 2006 69/6) looked at the creative process experienced by women who regularly made creative artworks, in particular, how their experience of ‘flow’ helped them to cope with cancer.  They found benefits including: the challenge of creative  artwork; feeling of mastery and control; immersion and […]

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Generic – research

Scottish Arts Therapies Forum calls for contributors for arts and health conference

Scottish Arts Therapies Forum – Call for conference contributors – posted 05.4.2011 deadline: 30 April 2011 Taking place on 8th October, ‘Talking together – Working together: Exploring Arts and Health’ is a conference designed for arts workers/artists/therapists, service users and carers. Presented by the Scottish Arts Therapies Forum (SATF), in collaboration with Voluntary Arts Scotland, […]

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Generic Research – also of interest

Scottish Arts Therapies Forum calls for contributors for arts and health conference

Scottish Arts Therapies Forum – Call for conference contributors – posted 05.4.2011 deadline: 30 April 2011 Taking place on 8th October, ‘Talking together – Working together: Exploring Arts and Health’ is a conference designed for arts workers/artists/therapists, service users and carers. Presented by the Scottish Arts Therapies Forum (SATF), in collaboration with Voluntary Arts Scotland, […]

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Generic Research – in the media

People have expressed themselves therapeutically in an artistic way throughout history.

From the communicative cave drawings and symbolic Egyptian hieroglyphics, to rituals and Native American sand painting, which were said to have had spiritual healing power, we have always used some form of creative expression in a beneficial way. The 1800s saw the two French psychiatrists find typical characteristics and symbolism in the artwork of people […]

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Heart

Waltzing is as good as the gym

An article in the Sun quotes a study that found waltzing three times a week is as good, if not better, than the same amount of time on a treadmill or exercise bike. The U.S study took 110 cardiac patients who tried either waltzing or working out. The amount of oxygen their lungs put into […]

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Lungs

Singing for COPD patients

The BBC reports on a trial at the Royal Brompton hospital, and a participant talks about the benefit he’s experienced. View the video clip.

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Mind

Painting reduces attendance at surgery and improves self-confidence

A GP surgery appointed an artist-in-residence to work alongside staff and patients, because GPs felt that a large number of problems were primarily not medical in origin, and were concerned about over-medicalisation of normal life. Patients with long-standing mental health problems showed measurable increases in self-confidence scores and their very high attendances at the surgery […]

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Stroke

Singing rewires the brains of stroke patients

A trial led by Gottfried Schlaug, a neurology professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, has shown that teaching stroke patients to sing “rewires” their brains, helping them recover their speech. Reports appeared both on BBC news and in The Independent. Download the full article from www.musicbrain.com.

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Various

‘Guidelines to Art’ by Society for All Artists

Since the SAA (Society for All Artists) created its ‘Guidelines to Art’ method (you can see the full evaluation done by Nottingham University at http://saa.co.uk/images/pdfs/GTA_Evaluation_0709.pdf) it has now trained activity organisers in nearly 600 care homes in the UK, including BUPA, the Order of St John and many others. This has proved very successful and […]

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Conditions

Artforms

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Alcoholism Alzheimer's Arthritis Autism Cancer Crafts Crohn's Disease Cystic Fibrosis Dance Dementia Down's Syndrome Heart Hepatitis C HIV and AIDS Lungs Mind MS Multiple Sclerosis Music Parkinson's Poetry Singing Stroke Visual arts Writing