Arts in Health (BETH5207)


The 'art of health' is more than an historic catchphrase; it is a literal phenomenon. In the past century the visual, literary and performing arts have emerged as vital components of a blossoming 'arts in health' movement which values the contribution of the arts 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, psychology and medicine; narrative health; hospital art, design and architecture; and the role of art in public health, health research, and social marketing campaigns. Students will be treated to a diverse range of guest lecturers from the fields of visual performing arts and related areas of expertise. 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 inter-connectedness of the arts with human health.

Questions covered

  • Why is art important to health and how does it achieve such sometimes transformative effects?
  • How can we evaluate arts and health programs? When do we know they are delivering value for money?
  • What sorts of arts-based programs are useful for different user groups?
  • Does art help people develop empathy for others or for suffering?
  • What are the most significant ethical issues in developing arts and health approaches and programs?


The course will be held over 4 days at the University of Sydney's main campus in Semester 2, 2015. It is in an intensive format, running from 9am to 5pm with an hour for lunch. There are also online discussions to participate in.

Dates in Semester 2, 2015 are as follows:
Friday 7 August and Saturday 8 August 2015
Friday 11 September and Saturday 12 September 2015.

Lectures will also be recorded and will be made available on the course’s eLearning website.


Teaching will take place at the University of Sydney's Camperdown campus. Venue to be advised.

Application Deadline

20 July 2015
(late applications may be accepted)

Course Fee

$1,100 (including GST)

Discounts are available for a group of participants from the same institution or organisation, as follows:

  • 3-4 participants: 10% discount

The University's tuition fees are reviewed annually and may be varied during the period of study. The exact tuition fee may depend on the specific units of study in which you apply.

Application Form

Applicants wanting to undertake the Human and Animal Research Ethics short course need to complete the application form and tax invoice (PDF).

If you would like to apply for a group, please complete the group application form and tax invoice (PDF).

If you are a University of Sydney staff member and would like to apply please contact the Office for Teaching and Learning regarding a journal transfer after you have submitted your application form.

Please either fax or post the application form with payment to:

Office for Teaching and Learning
Room 329, Level 3
Edward Ford Building (A27)
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Phone: +61 2 9351 4366

More Information

For queries regarding course content, please contact

For administrative queries, please contact