Arts in Health (BETH5207)


The 'art of health' is more than an historic catchphrase; it is a literal phenomenon. Arts based approaches to health promotion, social determinants of health and to a range of health issues (including mental health, dementia and aging, disability, childhood development and cancer) can have stunningly powerful effects. In the past century the visual, literary and performing arts have emerged as vital components of a community based approach to human health and wellbeing. This unit gives students practical examples of how to incorporate the arts into public health and health care. The course offers a rich and detailed exploration of varying debates in the scholarly and practice-based fields of arts-and-health, which include but are not limited to: status and uses of art therapy; music and medicine; narrative, literature and the 'narrative medicine' movement; hospital art, design and architecture; and the role of art in health research and social marketing campaigns. Students will learn design thinking as a crucial skill in creative problem solving and social innovation, the new approaches taken up to meet the demands of difficult and rapidly shifting social circumstances. In addition to refining skills, this unit requires that students come to grips with the affective and experiential elements of health. This course will appeal to students of public health; literary, visual and performing arts; social work; psychology; and related disciplines, who want to understand more about the interconnectedness of the arts with human health.
All assessments must be completed to pass this Unit.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Block mode, 2x2 days (4 hour combined lectures/tutorials)


2x300-400wd online tasks (25%), 1x1,500wd essay (25%), 1x2,500wd essay (50%)


None specified

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.