Policy and Practice

There is growing recognition that the arts can positively impact the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities: In 2017 the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing’s Creative Health report made the case that the arts can contribute to health across our lifespan, and, last year, the World Health Organization synthesized evidence on this from across Europe. Performance for Care focusses on one, sometimes overlooked, aspect of this: the contribution that the arts can make to the education and professional development of the healthcare workforce. Our presenters here lay out the policy and practice background for this.

Please note: many of the videos featured on this website were filmed at short notice with limited technology – please forgive the ‘home-made’ quality. Thanks for our contributors and to Anna Tanczos (our film-maker) for compiling this material. We are also very grateful for the invaluable help of Emma Keeling, Alicia Bloundele and David Ottley.

Alex Coulter, Director of Arts and Health South West, and project director of Creative Health, outlines developments in arts and health since the publication of the report, which recommended that ‘a stronger arts and humanities dimension’ be embedded in the education of clinicians, public health specialists, and other health and care professionals. 

Representing the healthcare perspective we have Professor of Nursing Policy at King’s College London and President of the Royal College of Nursing, Anne Marie Rafferty. In her video Professor Rafferty argues for the long-standing affinity between performance and care, and explains how important it is at this moment of unprecedented social challenges to explore promising avenues for fruitful collaborations between arts practitioners and those involved in the education of healthcare professionals.

Our showcase section features innovative art-based projects – from Guildhall School/Kingston University, Oxford Brookes, Edinburgh Napier, and Kings College London – involving nurses and midwives in training. They all use performance – different forms of theatre and dance – to do so, and demonstrate the special affinity between performance and those professions that are most constantly at the point of care.