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Arts for Health Archive

The Arts for Health Archive aims to preserve and enable access by researchers and other interested parties to a unique collection of key documents, artifacts, photographic and digital media and ephemera that record the pioneering years of arts and health as this movement radiated worldwide from Manchester from the 1970s

After rescue from imminent decay in the basement of an abandoned building in Manchester's Victoria Park, the Arts for Health Archive is now established in its new home in the Righton Building at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The Archive - with its volunteer staff of Dr Langley Brown and Peter Senior - is already being interrogated and referenced by a growing number of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, from within MMU as well as from other universities including Leeds, Oxford, and Murcia in Spain.

The Archive documents how today's widespread engagement of the arts/health domain began in and expanded from Manchester from the 1970s, and extends to the period around the publication of the Invest to Save findings in 2007.

By documenting the key pioneering stages of a journey that has made a significant contribution to international developments in this field, the Arts for Health Archive offers researchers, students and arts/health practitioners a unique resource for understanding the origins, philosophies, politics, processes and milestones of what has emerged as a movement for significant cultural change in its promotion of the long-neglected relationship between human creativity and well-being.

The next stages are for the Archive to be professionally catalogued and linked to other collections and online resources, so that researchers - including those arts/health practitioners curious to understand the origins of their work - will be able to explore a widening range of research avenues leading into (to give but a few examples at random): the origins and anthropology of art; neurological processes in artistic activity; the arts as therapy; contemporary cultural contexts; architecture for health care; arts activity in extreme circumstances; and the personal experience of some of the arts/health pioneers.

Download Timeline (PDF)


If you wish to make an appointment to visit the Archive, or if you want any further information, please email

Dr Langley Brown
The Arts for Health Archive
Arts for Health
Manchester Metropolitan University
Righton Building
Cavendish Street
M15 6BG