How the arts can help address health inequalities

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
The Welsh NHS Confederation

Year of Publication:

Welsh NHS Confederation

Publication Type:
Other Paper


This briefing provides an overview, within the climate of Covid-19, of ways in which engagement with the arts can help to reduce health inequalities in Wales. It is intended to act as a springboard for a new conversation that considers why engagement with the arts is lowest among those who may benefit most from it, and what steps can be taken to bridge the gap in Wales. It focuses on five case studies which highlight some of the variety of arts and health initiatives taking place in Wales.

Within the context of The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the socio-economic duty in Wales, (due to enter force on 31st March 2021), it is recommended that a shared understanding needs to be reached on the following points:

• What constitutes an arts & health project that helps address health inequalities?
• What distinguishes such projects from mainstream arts projects that involve or are led by deaf/disabled people; people from diverse backgrounds?
• How do we benchmark our starting point? Have we identified a gap in practice here?
• Who do we need to be partnering/collaborating with to take forward this work?
• What realistic targets can we collectively commit to?
• What will success look like?

Featured case studies are:
• the Golden Years project;
• Conversations/Future Selves;
• Dementia and Diversity, Y Lab;
• New Dance – Delivering dance sessions at a HMP Berwyn to support recovery and rehabilitation;
• The Public Involvement and Patient Experience in Research (PIPER) group.

The Welsh NHS Confederation is the only national membership body which represents all the organisations that make up the NHS in Wales: the seven Local Health Boards, the three NHS Trusts and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW). They are also part of the NHS Confederation and host NHS Wales Employers.

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Participant Group: Adults

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download