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Arts and Health Australia

Andy Howitt

Life in Your Hands - Hand Hygiene

The ‘Hand Hygiene – Dance it in’ project was set up to develop a mass dance based on the standardized hand hygiene cleansing steps stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to facilitate effective hand hygiene.

The dance was taught to staff, patients and visitors throughout the hospital, testing the capacity for people to use dance and movement memory to facilitate long-term behavioural change.

Endorsed by the hospital’s Chief Executive, the project culminated in a mass dance flashmob in the hospital foyer with over 100 people in attendance, acknowledging the national health and social change movement “Change Day”.

The development and distribution of a short instructional video was built into the creative process and enabled a broade distribution of hand hygiene dance.

Alongside this ‘mass dance’, the choreographer, Andy Howitt developed the standardized movement into a series of dance variations that explored themes of vulnerability, care and death, resulting in dance performance at the hospital presented by six professional dancers and developed into a video called Life in your Hands.

The project challenged the concept that art belongs in purpose-built art venues, turning the hospital foyers, windows and hallways into performance spaces and encouraged people to be creative as part of their day to day lives.

It also facilitated positive behavioural change and conveyed a critical hygiene message, with the potential to reduce the spread of infectious disease and save lives.

Andy HowittAndy Howitt

Scottish-born Andy Howitt moved to Australia in 2013 to take on the role of Director and CEO of Ausdance Victoria, the state branch of Australia’s peak national dance body. Andy has worked as an artistic director, dance director, professional dancer, dance teacher, performer and choreographer.

Andy was born in Fife, and danced with Fife Youth Dance Company before going to the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London. He went on dance to with a number of dance companies including: Transitions Dance Company, National Dance Company of Wales, Scottish Opera and Scottish Dance Theatre.

He was Dance director with TAG Theatre Company; during his time with Tag he presented A Scots Quair and Lanark at the Edinburgh International Festival.

He was also Artistic Director of YDance (formerly Scottish Youth Dance) and City Moves Dance Agency.