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.
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