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Canadian Forum on Arts and Health – Forum Summary Report

February 17, 200617 February 2006

Article Link
http://www.artshealthnetworkcanada.com/resources/index.html

This report contains a summary of the discussions during the March 2005 Canadian Forum on Arts and Health. The goals of the Forum were to: share experiences and research; provide a networking opportunity for those working in the area; identify questions, issues and opportunities; and assess potential policy implications.

Of the 120 individuals participating in the Forum, about one-half were primarily involved in the arts and culture sector, with others coming from health or university research areas.

Pre-conference research interviews found that many Canadians are not aware of “the benefits of the arts in later life in relation to health and well-being”. In fact, many Canadians “tend to consider health (the sciences) and the arts to encompass separate streams, unaware of the interconnections between the two”. Policy documents have focussed on the benefits for seniors of physical activity rather than the arts. A contributing factor is the relative paucity of research into the links between the arts and health.

Recurring themes from discussions at the Forum about the links between the arts and health include:

  • “arts and creativity promote a sense of control and empowerment in people”;
  • the arts facilitate human relations and connections;
  • “creativity is a need”;
  • “new understandings of the nature and the experience of illness are revealed through art”;
  • the arts help patients become active partners in their own care; and
  • the arts are transformative and facilitate change.
  • Among the 10 recommendations from the Forum Director are recommendations to: create a national multi-disciplinary network for arts and health research, with a supporting website; pursue arts in health demonstration projects; document success stories; and create a national policy and funding strategy.

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