Today there is increasing awareness that the arts play a crucial role in improving the health and social wellbeing of communities.

Over fifty years ago, the World Health Organisation proposed that health is not merely the absence of illness but a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing dependent on a range of elements physical, psychological and social. We now know that cultural practice is significant among these factors. Whether we observe performing artists allied with youth workers to tackle homelessness, the rise of patient-focused architecture in public hospitals, or the use of arts education to promote health in schools, we see compelling evidence that the arts can have a considerable impact on social and institutional life.

As the therapeutic and transformative possibilities of arts programs continue to attract interest from practitioners in diverse fields, the importance of multi-disciplinary partnerships can often go unrecognised or undocumented in research, policy and analysis.

This issue reflects work in the arts and health that crosses disciplinary divisions, promotes knowledge exchange and inspires creative partnerships. the refereed papers present evidence of how the arts contribute to community health and provide approaches which embed the arts within health policy and planning.

Diversionary Space Project at Royal Melbourne Hospital Short Term Dementia Ward

Author: Darren Steffen, Roger Alsop

Download article – Diversionary Space Project

Arts and Health: From Economic Theory to Cost-Effectiveness

Author: Raoul Craemer, Senior Consultant, ACIL TASMAN PTY LTD

Download article – Arts and Health

Friends on the Farm: Reciprocal Relationship Building Through the Arts

Author: Jan Deans, the University of Melbourne

Download article – Reciprocal Relationship building

Healing Threads

Author: Merrin Eirth, Head of Drawing, VCA Art, The University of Melbourne

Download article – Healing Threads

Interdisciplinary Models for Collaboration Between Artists and Architects: Empowering Community, Inspiring Urban Renewal

Author: Dr Steffen Lehmann, UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific, The University of Newcastle, NSW

Download article – Interdisciplinary Models for Collaboration

The role the Arts Can Play in the Wellbeing of Older Individuals Living in the Community and in Care

Author: Julie Gross McAdam MA, Mac.Art Program Director

Download article – Arts and the wellbeing of older individuals

Big hART at John Northcott Estate: Community, Health and the Arts

Authors: Dr Peter Wright, Dr David Palmer, Murdoch University, WA

Download article – Community, Health and the Arts

Pathways – An Innovative Approach to the Use of Participatory Art Practice in Primary Care

Authors: B Platten, K Harris, Professor M Kagioglou, The University of Salford, Salford

Download article – Use of Participatory Art Practice

Emotional Intelligence and the Performing Arts: Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries

Ralf Rauker, Edith Cowan University, WA
Associate Professor Chris Skinner,
University of Notre Dame, WA
Robyn Bett, Murdoch University, WA

Download article – Emotional Intelligence and the Performing Arts

Arts, Health, Community Resilience and Healing: Responding to Natural Disaster

Dr Rosa Maria McManamey, University of Tasmania
Jantina Maria Sparkes, Regener8 Project Coordinator, St Marys, Tasmania

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Memoirs of the Forgotten Ones: Theatre and Drama with Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma and Abuse

Author: Sarah Woodland

Download article – Memoirs of the Fogotten Ones

Art or Therapy? A Trojan Horse in the Art School Gallery

Author: Dr Pamela Zeplin, University of South Australia, SA

Download article – Art or Therapy?