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For regular updates and ongoing arts and health news, please check out our blog.

Dementia & Imagination

Arts for Health has been a partner one of five Connected Communities Programme themes which shared funding in excess of £7m. The focus of the Connected Communities Programmes is on engaging with communities, giving people the opportunity to contribute to the creation, design and production the research. By working in partnerships with community groups the research is able to produce knowledge and create resources that are of direct significance to the groups involved but also have wider societal, cultural and economic benefits.

Dementia & Imagination received three-year funding of £1.2 million, researching how taking part in visual arts can contribute to the health and well-being of people with dementia. Clive Parkinson leads on a specific element of the research programme focusing around art in the research process and engagement through art. This project brought together social sciences researchers specialising in dementia, gerontology, psychology and economics with researchers in the visual arts, cultural policy and museum studies.

The research asked the question: How can visual arts interventions change, sustain and catalyse community cultures, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to create dementia friendly communities?

As the Dementia & Imagination research project draws to its completion, Arts for Health will be releasing a number of outputs from this research project online, and through published journals, monographs and exhibitions. On the 31st January 2017 we held our first major dissemination event at The Wellcome Trust where we shared a heady mix of data and art that has been produced as part of the research, and in response to the project. We will add this material to this website and the Dementia & Imagination website as the writing-up phase of work continues through 2017.

Cover of Dementia & Imagination

For now, we are pleased to launch, Dementia & Imagination: Research Informed Approaches to Visual Arts Interventions. This handbook - also known as The Yellow Book - is primarily focused on supporting artists, and will be followed up with training in 2017/2018.

We have also published our research protocol in the British Medical Journal Open:

We have also published our methodological approach and its formulation in Cultural Trends:

Presentations and other material will be uploaded incrementally. Some of the artistic outputs will be posted on a stand-alone web platform, details to follow.

“A Love Filled Slap”

As part of the 1916 East Rising commemorations in Ireland this year, Clive Parkinson was invited to share the development and context to the Manifesto for Arts & Health. This is a black and white version of the transcript of his presentation (PDF), here is a full colour graphic version (PDF), and a short film is available for those who would rather watch and listen to it.

Arts for Health publishes “A Recoverist Manifesto”

People in recovery from substance misuse in the UK, Italy and Turkey have collaboratively developed a manifesto that attempts to humanise the face of addiction. Through workshops with people in the 3 countries, Clive Parkinson has produced The Recoverist Manifesto (PDF) which aims to dispel the stigmatized myths and legends associated with substance misuse by providing a counter-blast that challenges current clichéd misconceptions by reframing addiction as a health issue and recovery as a civil rights concern. With an introduction by Will Self, this manifesto presents us with an opportunity to start a wider conversation around cultural change.

You can also see Clive's accompanying presentation about the Recoverist Manifesto below.

Exploring the links between the phenomenology of creativity and bipolar disorder

Arts for Health Research Associate, Dr Katherine Taylor has a new paper in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

The links between bipolar disorder (BD) and creativity have historically attracted academic and public interest. Previous research highlights common characteristics of people considered to be highly creative, and those diagnosed with BD, including extraversion, impulsivity, divergent thinking and high motivation. In the first phenomenological study focussing on the links between creativity and extreme mood, an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach was used to collect and analyse in-depth interview data from seven people diagnosed with BD in the UK.

The full paper is available at:



Clive Parkinson's keynote at the 5th International Arts of Health and Wellbeing Conference in Sydney on 12th November 2013. The presentation explores our obsession with 'measuring' the impact of the arts and culture in terms dictated by science, in particular the RCT as prescribed by big pharma!

Watch Presentation (25min)

Or watch a shorter, 2 minute version of Clive Parkinson's presentation.

Debate on "Arts: Contribution to Education, Health and Emotional Well-being"

House of Lords, 25 July 2013, asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch.
Download transcript.

"Arts, Health and Wellbeing – Personal Reflections and Political Perspectives"

Lord Howarth of Newport's address to the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference in Bristol, 25 June 2013. Download Speech.

“A Bird in a Gilded Cage”

A Bird in a Gilded Cage

In A Bird in a Gilded Cage Clive Parkinson suggests that, in a world where institutional neglect and cruelty towards some of our most vulnerable citizens has been exposed, the arts might offer something of an antidote to the way we support people affected by memory loss. The graphics for this polemic have been created by Bridget Hines in the MA Design LAB.

Read the full essay

Menas Žmogaus Gerovei

A report of Menas žmogaus gerovei (Art for well-being) which was implemented over 2012 by the Artists Association Gallery and financed by the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania. The goal of the project was to promote access to culture and well-being through the creative partnership of professionals within culture, education, health care and social services - presenting new approaches towards arts and health. Activities were delivered in four health-care and social-care organisations in Vilnius and Panevežys. The target groups of these activities were seniors, mental health service users, clinicians and children. The project evaluation employed quantitative and qualitative methods of which illustrated the positive impact of the artistic activities to the well-being of participants. By creating access to culture, the project taught the participants new skills and capacities, encouraged aspiration to improve skills and create new knowledge. The evaluation revealed positive impacts on emotion and mood, self-esteem, social vitality, communication and relationships, encouraging openness and strengthening a sense of community. (This report is in Lithuanian, but google translate will help you translate sections). Download PDF.


Fur Coat and No Knickers, a new piece of writing by Clive Parkinson commissioned by ixia, which takes in Olympic year, the Queen's Jubilee and the sometimes bland world of Public Art… Further Details and Video.

Chris Agnew: who's pulling the strings now?

A tribute by Langley Brown. Download PDF.

Unit X

From this autumn, MMU students will be able to engage with Arts for Health as part of the Unit X programme which provides an opportunity to explore collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice by undertaking work alongside students from Design/Art programmes within the Faculty of Art and Design. The unit encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. Lectures and talks from key research staff and students, tutorial group meetings, and presentation. The set projects will vary from year to year and will designed to be responsive to creative opportunities. More details soon.

Medicine: Below the Surface - A poetic introspection.

Kate Jablonska

MMU alumni Kate Jablonska has organised the 1st Exhibition of Manchester Metropolitan University Art & Design Students' Artworks in the Education Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary. Please report to Education North, to which the entrance is on Nelson Street until 9th August, after that the new road should be open.

The Arts and Health Research Archive

Arts for Health hold the UK's largest archives of valuable research material spanning the last 30 years. For some time, this resource has been un-catalogued and inaccessible to the public. We are pleased to announce that with the support of the Centre for Research in Library and Information Management (CRLIM) at MMU; Peter Senior MBE, Dr Langley Brown and MMU Special Collections, CRLIM Students are working to create a rich and accessible resource. We aim to have this material available to the public early 2011.

The Arts, Mental Health and Well-Being

In partnership with Breakthrough Arts; the Mental Health Foundation and the National Arts and Mental Health Strategy Group; Arts for Health are conducting a review of current arts and mental health practice across the UK. The aim of the partnership is to gather evidence of impact and need across the UK and lobby for increased investment and a raised profile of this work.

Health and Well-Being Alliance

The attached paper sets out the remit of, and potential priorities for, a Health and Well-Being Alliance serving the North-West, reflecting the imperative of enabling and supporting large scale, cross-sectoral transformational change. Specifically, it will also provide a resource to enable local public health delivery. With the new Department of Health White Paper and immanent developments in Public Health nationally, its important the arts and cultural sector engages with this debate. Arts for Health will feedback a response from the arts/health sector regionally. Please send any responses to by Friday 6th August and to feed into the process.

Arts in Health and Well-being Conference

4th March 2010, Wales Millennium Centre

This conference is aimed at professionals from both the health and arts sectors. Its main aim is to raise the debate among practitioners as to the value and effectiveness of the arts along with some practical solutions. Further Details.

British Association of Arts Therapists Conference: Attachment and the Arts

12th February 2010, London

The arts play a powerful role in the wellbeing of those who experience mental health problems. How can we understanding this? Further Details.

Clive Parkinson at the BAAT

Clive Parkinson at the BAAT (click for details)

Clive Parkinson had the pleasure of speaking at the British Association of Arts Therapists, Art Therapy Practice Research Network on Friday 2nd October, where alongside the Chief Executive of BAAT Val Huet and Chair, Neil Springham, he discussed the work of Arts for Health and the synergies between BAAT and the wider Arts and Health communities.

In sharing the process of the Invest to Save: Arts in Health research project he explored the potential for commonality between the wider arts and communityhealth field and creative therapies and potential for moving towards what Mike White describes as a '…unifying theory of arts in health.'

Areas of mutual interest discussed included what constitutes evidence ofhealth gain and well-being; bridge building; using new-media to share practiceand emerging national/regional/local developments.

RSPH Announces Winners of Arts and Health Award 2009

The Royal Society for Public Health, in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, is delighted to announce that the two winners of this year's Arts and Health Award are Jenny Secker from Anglia Ruskin University and Andy Watson, from Geese Theatre Company. The Award recognises innovative work in Arts and Mental Health and marks significant contributions to research and practice in the field. Further details.

Putting myself in the picture

How can culture and the arts impact on health inequalities?

On October 22nd 09 we'll be hosting an event at MMU that explores the relationship between the arts, culture and health inequalities. This flickr page alows you to upload photographs to share on-line. Between now and the 22nd we have World Mental Health Day (10th October) and the idea here is to record images that question elements of our personal lives.

My Neighbour: LA1

The image I've uploaded is of one of my neighbour's houses. It a home with no water, gas or electricity, but someone still lives there. He's lived there since his parents died in the 1970's. The windows are boarded up and kids vandalize it. This is my post-code, my neighbour. So, I'm not asking you to give away your address, but the first part of your post-code maybe and a caption about what and why, would be useful.
Clive Parkinson

International Arts and Health Conference

Clive Parkinson will be giving a key-note speech at the The Art of Good Health and Wellbeing, Port Macquarie 2009 International Arts and Health Conference.

The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie

The Art of Good Health and Wellbeing conference offers an unprecedented opportunity for direct access to best practice policy, programs and research in arts and health, presented by leading authorities in the world today.

Enterprising Students win Commission

2nd Year BA (Hons) Embroidery Students at MMU have been involved in an enterprising project as part of a collaborative venture with Arts for Health and Derbyshire Community Health Services. Further details.


Facebook logo

We now have a Facebook site that you'd be more than welcome to join. Just go to Facebook and search for ArtsforHealth or use this direct link.

Royal Society for Public Health announce
Arts and Health Award 2009

A decision has been made and the award will be presented during at the Annual General Meeting of the RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health), on 15th September 2009.

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson

Following a meeting between Lord Howarth of Newport, Clive Parkinson and a small contingent of colleagues with the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP in July 08; Mr Johnson went on to deliver a speech on arts and health.

Download a copy of Alan Johnson's Speech (PDF)

Related News

  • Lord Howarth of Newport's questions to the Department of Health around action on Arts and Health answered by Lord Darzi of Denham. Click here for transcript.