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Arts and Health Australia

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?

What of value beyond econometrics, and is it possible to recognize how the work of contemporary art and artists might inform our thinking around mental health beyond the ‘feel-good factor’?

Taking in the works of literary and performing arts, this presentation will bring together data from arts participation research, alongside the collision of sub-atomic particles at 13 teraelectronvolts, to explore a marriage of dark matter and imagined possibilities, via indignity, instrumentalism and belief. 

Clive ParkinsonClive Parkinson

Clive Parkinson is the Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he leads the University’s cross-faculty Arts & Health Research Group. Arts for Health is a specialist research unit that explores the relationships between creativity, culture, the arts, and health.  He has worked within the National Health Service and the voluntary sector, supporting people from diverse backgrounds and, wherever possible, placing culture and the arts at the forefront of work which focuses on people and their possibilities, and not upon illness and deficit.


He is particularly interested in the unexpected outcomes that arise from an active engagement in the arts He is a founding member of the UK’s National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, and is currently a co-investigator on the Dementia & Imagination project, which explores the links between the visual arts, wellbeing and sense of community.

In partnership with people recovering from substance addiction, he has recently developed a "Recoverist Manifesto". He is currently working with partnerships in Australia, Italy, France, Lithuania and Turkey. 

Clive regularly blogs at http://artsforhealthmmu.blogspot.co.uk/