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Arts and Health

What do we mean by Arts and Health? 

Arts are a social determinant of health – see here for a visual depiction of what this means. There is increasing evidence to show that arts, creativity, and culture can play a crucial role in improving the health and wellbeing of the population. Whilst the arts are a notoriously difficult concept to define, art in relation to health research can be divided into five broad categories:

  • Performing arts: activities in the genre of music, dance, theatre, singing and film
  • Visual arts, design and craft: crafts, design, painting, photography, sculpture and textiles 
  • Literature: writing, reading and attending literary festivals
  • Culture: going to museums, galleries, art exhibitions, concerts, the theatre, community events, cultural festivals and fairs
  • Online, digital and electronic arts: animations, filmmaking and computer graphics

What is the Arts and Health SIG?

The Faculty of Public Health Arts and Health SIG is a forum for public health professionals to consider and support the use of the arts to improve health and wellbeing. Our vision is to improve health and wellbeing through arts (music, painting, drama, reading etc). We will do this by:

  • Promoting the use of arts to improve health and wellbeing though member organisations, working with partners, attending conferences etc
  • Identifying and developing further research into the effectiveness of arts on wellbeing
  • Identify best practice and disseminate information on the practical application of art interventions
  • Advocate for arts as a social determinant of health and its use to mitigate health inequalities 
  • Advocate for the arts to be viewed and understood not only as a possible intervention but essential for a healthy life
  • Support work to reduce inequalities in access to the arts
  • Support a 'health in all policies' approach to embedding the arts and creativity in policy
  • Support the use of the arts for workforce wellbeing and training development 

Work / projects for 2022/23

  • Following the COVID-19 pandemic we are recruiting interested members to the group and developing a work programme to deliver our vision. Some themes currently being considered are:
    • Art and health pathways for the development of cultural and ethnic inclusion and;
    • Arts within public health training.
  • Presence at events
  • Re-establish links with partners to develop collaborative work and develop new partnerships with appropriate organisations 

Further resources 

Research Repository

Arts and Health Events


Chair, Heema Shukla:

Vice chair, Paula Hawley-Evans:

Join the SIG

FPH members can join this SIG by logging into their FPH members’ portal account, selecting the ‘Committees/SIGs’ button and choosing the correct SIG. You will then be asked to provide a few details, following which your application will be automatically approved. Further details on FPH membership are available here.

Meetings of the SIG are held quarterly and this committee reports to the Faculty's Health Improvement Committee.

Become a Member

Become a Member

FPH is the professional home for public health in the UK and abroad. We support over 5,000 members across all career stages enabling them to drive the profession forward and achieve our vision of improving public health.

More details