ISBN: 978-1-899687-55-8

Restoring the Balance: the effects of arts participation on wellbeing and health

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Devlin P

Year of Publication:

Voluntary Arts England

Publication Type:


Restoring the Balance: the effect of arts participation on wellbeing and health is a collection of interviews conducted between May 2009 and July 2009. People from a wide range of backgrounds explain how their wellbeing, their health and, in some cases, their lives have been transformed as a result of arts participation. Also included is testimony from a range of experts offering insights into why the arts and crafts play such a fundamental role in aiding peoples’ wellbeing and health. Details of the recently launched manifesto for participation in arts and crafts offer a model of best practice, as do links to related reports, research and organisations.

The focus of Restoring the Balance is very much on how the arts contribute to good health rather than how the arts are used to combat ill health. While some of the people featured have suffered from medical ailments and disability the emphasis is not art therapy in the traditional sense, as valid as that may be. The emphasis is firmly on how regular participation in creative activities has benefited people physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, whether that be from access to the arts as a result of illness, as part of a quest for a better work / life balance, seeking to deal with stressful situations, or, in some cases, simply having a desire to be alive in more than just the physical sense. The interviews will also show a range of benefits to participating in arts activities such as increased physical fitness, social contact, lower levels of stress, and increased education and skills. More importantly they also capture the fact that creativity on its own merit has an equal if not much greater foothold in the reasons behind improved wellbeing in people.

A message that will be reinforced early on is that in many cases people do not immediately think about the benefits to their health or wellbeing when they join an art or craft group or start an individual creative endeavour. Over recent years, however, it has become more accepted that this is exactly what they are doing. It is the aim of this publication to reinforce that message and, as a consequence, give wider recognition to the value of arts participation.

Evidence Type: Case Study

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Devlin, P. (2010). Restoring the Balance: the effects of arts participation on wellbeing and health. UK: Voluntary Arts England.