An international evidence base

A wealth of studies illustrate the short-term benefits of arts engagement, but scant consideration has been given to the ways in which our health may be affected through engaging in the arts over a longer period. In a bid to redress the balance, Arts for Health set up a six-month research programme to evaluate the long-term relationship between arts participation and physical/psychological health. A sustained literature review, combined with extensive consultation in the field, has yielded several highly relevant research projects. Here, we present this international evidence base, together with a brief summary of each of the key studies. Clicking on the icon in the top right of your screen* brings up a list from which you can select (arranged chronologically by research team – scroll down to read the summary).

Taken together, this research demonstrates a positive association between engagement in high-quality arts activities and life expectancy, disease resistance, mental acuity and even weight maintenance. We present these findings tentatively, as always with an eye on who has access to the arts and health.

This is an edited collection of texts for the twenty-first century, and special thanks are due to all the esteemed academics, represented here, who willingly consented to republish their work. We are in the process of securing access to the majority of the research articles from the peer-reviewed journals in which they originally appeared, and will activate the links as soon as we have gained permission.

This research has been funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Cultural Value Project.

Researchers are invited to follow us for updates on journal articles arising from this project.

If you have any comments or suggested additions, please contact us.

*If you cannot see this icon, please try using a different browser (occasional problems have been reported with Internet Explorer).

8 thoughts on “An international evidence base

      1. I’m commissioned to provide a blog for the Therapeutic Arts Strategy for the new North Ayrshire Community Hospital, a new 200 bed adult mental health facility. If you wanted to provide me with 500 words aimed at a general reader promoting this piece of work, I’d be really happy to publish it. We could take this conversation onto email?

    1. Sorry to hear that. Please try different browsers and the attachments should be visible. If this doesn’t work and there are any particular articles you are interested in, please get back in touch.

  1. It would be great if each time a paper is posted, it is titled using a descriptive title – ie artform, type of health impact, date, etc – and then tagged and categorised, ie so there’s an easy way to find what you’re interested in. Here are two low-budget WordPress websites that have attempted to do similar: and I run this website . Hope this is helpful, good luck with the research and site!

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