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Arts, health and healing

To transform public health, we need to think creatively
Creative practices have transformative effects on public health. How can we embed the arts to provide better healthcare?

While medicine treats, it doesn't always heal. Growing evidence is confirming what we may have known intuitively: culture is intrinsic to our health. 

The arts play a role in advancing public health because they present a new vision for healthcare — a more connected form of care that enables us to better handle pain, suffering, grief and trauma.

Creative practices — from writing to yarning, dance, music and theatre — allow individuals and communities to express and perhaps reclaim what's been lost from treatment and prevention: spirit, language, country and culture. 

Hear from internationally renowned artists and researchers including Clive Parkinson (Manchester School of Art) and Vic McEwan (The Cad Factory). Our speakers will present case studies of exemplary practice in the burgeoning field of arts in health, along with a series of provocations for policymakers, artists, health professionals and health consumers.

This event was co-presented with Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) and the Arts Health Network (NSW-ACT). It is also part of the Big Anxiety festival program, Australia's largest mental health event connecting art, science and people. 

It was held on Monday 21 October, 2019 at the University of Sydney.

The speakers

Clive is the Director of Arts for Health and the nascent Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change at Manchester Met and is a member of the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance. He was made a Reader in Arts, Health and Social Justice in 2016. He has been closely involved with arts and health developments in the UK, Europe and Australia and he has been central to strategic developments and practical activity in this field. He recently complied The Manchester Declaration, a statement of principles to drive the arts and health agenda across Greater Manchester.

Vic is the Artistic Director of The Cad Factory, an innovative arts organisation based in regional NSW. Vic’s practice involves working with sound, composition, video, installation and performance, with a particular interest in site-specific work. He is interested in creating new dynamics by working with diverse partners and exploring difficult themes within the lived experience of communities and localities. Vic aims to use his work to contribute to and enrich broader conversations about the role that the arts sector can play within our communities. He sits on the Inagural NSW/ACT Arts/Health State Leadership Group and is a board member of Music NSW. 

Nicole is a Research Fellow at the UON School of Nursing and Midwifery and Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychiatry, UNSW. She has worked perinatal and maternal mental health research for over 15 years and is committed to working alongside clinicians and policymakers to achieve the best outcomes for women, children and families.

Akeshia is an Aboriginal woman who completed her Indigenous Mental Health clinician training through Charles Sturt University in 2008. She has been working in a variety of roles supporting the mental health of Indigenous people is passionate about using culture to improve the mental health of her community, the focus of her PhD.

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