This page highlights evidence-based research in New Zealand and internationally about the benefits of the arts and culture ion our health and wellbeing. If you know of research that provides evidence about the importance for everyone to have access to the arts and culture, please contact Iona McNaughton (E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 04 802 4349).
Community Research gathers research about New Zealand’s tangata whenua, community and voluntary sectors. Current topics range from advocacy to arts and culture, crime and safety, disability, law and justice, research and evaluation, and Whanau Ora. It aims to provide a hub for iwi and community organisations to share their knowledge and advocates for good practice community research methods. Visit the website
What Works: demonstrating your value
What Works is a website hosted by Community Research. It’s about helping people, especially smaller community groups, the value of their work by gathering robust data and information to tell a story about what they are doing and the difference it makes. Visit the website
Art courses improve mental wellbeing
Researchers at the University of Gloucestershire have recently evaluated data from nearly 1,300 primary care patients in South West England, finding a course of arts-on-prescription to provide a significant improvement in overall wellbeing, including in those with very complex care needs. UnlArts-on-prescription schemes provide art courses where patients can choose to learn how to draw, paint, create mosaics or write. The courses are led by local artists, and are community-based rather than being based on specific medical needs. Read the article
Impact of Ōtautahi Creative Spaces
Findings from research demonstrate the “profound” impact of Ōtautahi Creative Spaces’ programmes on artists’ mental health and wellbeing. Analysis of the innovative arts programme by Ihi Research and Development has revealed how it has helped those involved to become more connected and resilient with improved social skills. Evaluation for Ōtautahi Creative Spaces Trust
Disability access in Aotearoa New Zealand museums
Path to Accessibility: the current state of disability access in Aotearoa New Zealand museums is a dissertation written by Riah King-Wall for Victoria University. How are museums and galleries around New Zealand engaging with communities of people with disabilities, and consulting with representatives from the disability sector and cultural organisations? A nationwide survey of 41 museums and galleries explored various aspects of disability access, including physical ingress, inclusive exhibition design, tailored public programming, digital accessibility, and levels of disability representation in staff and management positions.
The arts for health and wellbeing
Creative Health, a 2017 report from an All-Party Parliamentary Group in the UK, presents comprehensive evidence on the beneficial impact of the arts. It’s the result of two years of research, evidence-gathering and discussions with patients, health and social care professionals, artists and arts administrators, academics, people in local government, ministers, other policy-makers and parliamentarians. In the report’s Foreword, Rt Hon Lord Howard says: “We hope that our report will influence the thinking and practice of people working professionally in health and social care as well as of artists and people working in cultural organisations … We offer a challenge to habitual thinking and ask for new collaborations to be formed across conventional boundaries. We are calling for an informed and open-minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of the pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems. The evidence we present shows how arts-based approaches can help people to stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions and experience a better quality of life. We also show how arts interventions can save money and help staff in their work.”