Following a period of consultation and research with the arts and health sector, the Arts Council has today announced its new arts and health policy and strategy. The policy and strategy document outlines the Arts Council’s support and understanding of arts and health practice and the values that underpin its approach to arts and health practice. It also outlines strategic actions for the five-year period 2010-2014.
The Arts Council understands arts and health to be a broad term that embraces a range of arts practices occurring primarily in healthcare settings, which bring together the skills and priorities of both arts and health professionals. It recognises good arts and health practice as that which is characterised by a clear artistic vision, goals and outcomes, and aims to promote health and wellbeing by improving quality of life and cultural access in healthcare settings.
The values that underpin the Arts Council’s approach to arts and health practice include: long term strategic partnership and planning; integration into the healthcare environment; engagement with professional artists and high quality arts experiences; inclusive, participant centred approaches; monitoring and evaluation; high quality and appropriate documentation and dissemination. The Arts Council promotes practice that has clear artistic vision, goals and outcomes and demonstrates a commitment to these values.
The Arts Council arts and health strategy aims to address some of the key needs identified by the arts and health sector including: information and advice, professional development, advocacy and resources. It outlines a series of actions that aim to: promote arts and health at national level; develop strategic resources and supports; and foster partnerships.
Mary Cloake, Arts Council Director said "the Arts Council recognises the value of arts and health on a number of levels, most particularly from a social inclusion perspective and as a means of encouraging artistic innovation. It is aware of the complementary support that comes from the health sector and the vital role played by individual champions up and down the country. It is hoped that the excellent relationships built between the Arts Council and these individuals can be maintained and strengthened in the coming years, and that a more comprehensive partnership can gradually be developed at a policy level."