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Arts and Health Australia

Plenary Speakers

Michael Balfour

Michael BalfourSurprising histories: the arts and social health of returning military personnel

In the last couple of years thousands of military personnel from USA, UK, Europe and Australia have returned from Afghanistan and the conflict in Iraq. Many suffer mental health issues, which can lead to family breakdown and homelessness. The Difficult Return was an arts-based response to this issue and involved collaboration between arts, public health and military researchers at Griffith University, University of Queensland and Chapman University, California.


Jill Bennett

Jill BennettGetting into the minds of others

This presentation will discuss a case study: a Wellcome Trust art-science project on memory loss, focused on Claire, a woman with severe amnesia and led by artist Shona Illingworth


Katherine Boydell

Katherine BoydellUsing the arts to create and disseminate qualitative research: A critical examination

This presentation describes the use of a variety of art genres - performative, visual and literary - in the creation and dissemination of research in youth mental health and critically reflects on the methodological, aesthetic, collaborative, funding, and other challenges inherent in engaging in this work.


Elizabeth Dax

Elizabeth DaxThe Cunningham Dax Collection – Good Works?

The Cunningham Dax Collection - 17,000 artworks by people with experience of mental illness - is utilised to promote understanding of mental health; assuming learning about the works leads to better understanding of, and empathy with mental illness. To continue the “good work” with reliable assessment of the value of learning outcomes is the ongoing challenge.


Karin Diamond and Alison O’Connor

Karin Diamond Alison O’Connor

Re-Live: Life Story Theatre

Bringing together Karin Diamond’s experience from professional theatre, film and T.V. and Alison O’Connor’s applied theatre and counselling practice in prisons and mental health settings, Re-Live began to develop a unique methodology of life story theatre.


Errol Francis

Jerril RechterAnxiety and the arts: exploring contemporary health and wellbeing

This paper is about the thinking behind how an arts festival came to be curated around the theme of anxiety, with analyses of selected works and concludes with suggestions on how such a festival might translate to the Australian context. Errol Francis was Festival Director of the Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014 and Acting Out Nottingham 2015.


Liss Gabb, Ez Eldin Deng and Geskeva-Lola Komba

Liss Gabb Ez Eldin Deng Geskeva-Lola Komba

Who's in the Building? The Art of Embodied Practice

Who’s in the Building will explore the power of embodied practice in community arts and health projects. cohealth Arts Generator has been investigating a model of embodied practice that combines the training and mentoring of emerging artists from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, with the delivery of arts projects that utilise the idea of collective imagination to increase wellbeing and build resilience.


Anna Goulding

Anna Goulding Dementia and Imagination – the role of socially engaged visual arts programmes in connecting communities

Dementia and Imagination is a national research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities programme, taking place in the United Kingdom. The project explores the use of socially engaged visual arts interventions in enriching the lives of older people with dementia by reconnecting them with their communities.

Arts on Prescription – challenges of evidence and embedding practice

Providing evidence of health or wellbeing outcomes for Arts on Prescription programmes for older people is problematic.


Andy Howitt

Andy Howitt Life in Your Hands - Hand Hygiene

In 2015, Music in Health at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, in partnership with Ausdance Victoria, created the ‘Hand Hygiene – Dance it in’ project which involved the engagement of professional dancers and a resident hospital choreographer to develop a mass dance based on the standardized hand hygiene cleansing steps stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that facilitates effective hand hygiene.


Lindy Hume and Mark Taylor

Lindy Hume Mark Taylor

The impact and benefits of Opera Queensland's Project Puccini in Regional Queensland

OperaQ's Project Puccini was a world-first initiative giving 384 regional Queenslanders the opportunity to perform alongside internationally renowned artists in a new production of Puccini’s La bohème.

A Griffith University report found the project had a positive immediate impact on participants, who reported strong feelings of personal growth and achievement, greater confidence, and in some cases, a positive effect on well-being.


Barbara McEwan Gulliver

Barbara McEwan Gulliver I will remember there is art to medicine as well as science

This presentation will explore the role of socially engaged visual art practice in the context of the work of Art in Hospital in Glasgow and across Scotland. A series of case studies will illustrate how the two fundamental disciplines of art and medicine work together to improve mental health, resilience and well-being.


Jonathon Larsen and Kim McConville

Jonathon Larsen Kim McConville


Catharsis was an interactive community art installation which began with an invitation to shred negative thoughts. Positive phrases were recorded on video and with graffiti. Next the shredded paper was made into new paper with Euraba artists. The positives phrases then printed onto the hand-made paper. The installation at NERAM included a projection, paper grid, interactive text and soundscape.


Clive Parkinson

Clive Parkinson ‘...all the time, the buzzing’: A gentle inquiry into dark matter in arts-based research

It is now widely accepted that art and culture have a significant role to play in promoting health and wellbeing across the life course. From the extremes of neo-natal intensive care to the death bed and everything in between, what role might culture and the arts play - and is there a danger that the impact and reach of the arts are only understood by tools that fit uncomfortably with culture?


Chris Poulos

Chris PoulosArts on Prescription for community dwelling older people

This paper describes the design and evaluation protocol for an ‘Arts on Prescription’ program for community dwelling older people in Sydney, NSW. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, this project represents a new collaboration between a large aged care provider (HammondCare) and the Faculties of Medicine and Art & Design at the University of New South Wales.


Kerry Wilson

Kerry WilsonSocial Prescribing and the Cultural Determinants of Wellbeing in the UK

TThis paper presents findings of ‘The Art of Social Prescribing’, a scoping study on the efficacy of social prescribing as a regional cultural commissioning policy in the UK. The research highlights the value of social prescribing in consolidating collaborative relationships between arts and health services and providing a holistic, strategic framework for understanding the socially located cultural determinants of wellbeing.