This section contains research looking into the ways in which cultural engagement benefits people's physical health and psychological wellbeing. There is a relatively strong evidence base for the therapeutic benefits of cultural engagement, whether that takes place within a clinical setting, or more generally in one's daily life. The studies translated here describe experiments within hospitals and other clinical settings, as well as research looking at population-wide data sets.

You can find out more about this area of research from places such as the Sidney DeHaan Research Centre for Music Arts and Health, the Arts Health and Wellbeing Research Programme, and the National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing.

The summaries in this category are:

Prescribe art and nature to improve wellbeing

This research was conducted by Linda Thomson and three others at University College London and the University of Leicester

Summary

This paper describes the findings from an evaluation of a ‘creative green prescription’ programme held at Whitworth Park and the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. Participation in the programme was shown …

Using art therapy to reduce stress in cancer outpatients

This research was conducted by Rossana L. De Feudis and five others at San Paulo Hospital and two other institutions in Bari, Italy

Summary

This paper describes the results of a study into the use of art therapy during a course of cancer treatment. We know that art therapies can benefit …

The impact of Playback Theatre on the mental health of older adults

This research was conducted by Shoshi Keisari and three others at the University of Haifa, Israel

Summary

This paper describes the mental health impacts generated by a programme of Playback Theatre sessions for visitors to adult day centres in Israel. ‘Playback Theatre is a form of improvisational theatre in which a …

How group singing improves wellbeing for dementia patients

This research was conducted by Sophie Lee, Desmond O’Neill and Hilary Moss at the University of Limerick and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Summary

Dementia is a progressive and uncurable condition which not only impacts people with the disease but also their carers and wider society. It is widely acknowledged that …

Using dance therapy to prevent falls

This research was conducted by Trish Vella-Burrows and four others at Canterbury Christ Church University

Summary

This paper relates the findings from an evaluation of ‘Dance to Health’: a scheme designed integrate known physiotherapy falls-prevention exercises into a creative dance programme. The programme was shown to have supported and enhanced physical …

The impact of cultural activities on the wellbeing of immigrants

This research was conducted by Eleftherios Giovanis at Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Turkey

Summary

This paper explores the ‘participation of migrants in socio-cultural activities related to arts, theatre, concerts and sports events’ and the impact of that participation on subjective well-being (SWB). The research looked at the experience of first, second …

An intergenerational music and dance project that improved wellbeing

This research was conducted by Lindsay K. Jenkins, Rachel Farrer and Imogen Jane Aujla at the University of Bedfordshire and Coventry University

Summary

This paper describes an intergenerational music and dance project that put professional artists together with older adults experiencing dementia. Through observation and a series of focus group discussions …

Music and singing can help with pain management

This research was conducted by Amy LiKamWa and four others at the University of Florida, USA

Summary

This paper describes a pilot study which took 40 healthy adults and tested their pain sensitivity and tolerance during moments of silence, when they listened to music, and when they were singing. The research …

Programmes like Dance to Health could save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year

This research was conducted by Simon Goldsmith and Themis Kokolakakis at Sheffield Hallam University

Summary

This paper evaluated whether ‘Dance to Health’ was an ‘effective and cost-effective means to address the issue of older people's falls’. The research calculated how many falls were prevented by the programme and how much of …

Arts engagement is associated with increased wellbeing and connectedness, and less intense loneliness

This research was conducted by Urszula Tymoszuk and five others at the Royal College of Music

Summary

This paper adds to the growing body of evidence on the relationship between arts and wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, the research found that ‘more arts engagement was associated with higher levels of wellbeing, social connectedness, and …