Arts and Health
The Arts Council has supported the practice of Arts and Health since the late 1990s through a programme of research and funding support for the sector. In 2008, an Arts and Health Adviser was appointed to assist with the development of policy and strategy. Following a two year period of research, consultation and a series of strategic arts and health events, a report was produced, the findings of which informed Arts Council thinking in this area of practice. The Arts Council adopted a new Arts and Health policy and strategy in May 2010. (http://www.artscouncil.ie/Publications/Arts_and_health_policy_2010_2014.pdf).
The Arts Council’s policy and strategy document identified six key principles that underpin its approach to Arts and Health, including:
- Long term strategic partnerships and planning where practice is built on a process of ongoing dialogue across the arts and health sectors, and the development of shared aims, understandings, resources and responsibilities.
- Integration into the healthcare environment where it is jointly planned and agreed by the artist, participants and healthcare staff, and delivered in accordance with relevant codes of practice, health and safety requirements.
- Monitoring and evaluation with a commitment to ongoing review of direction, purpose, practice and process, and where practice is adjusted in the light of evaluation.
- Engagement with professional artists in high quality arts experiences and with access to high quality, appropriate art materials, adequate facilities, time, expertise, support and funding.
- Adoption of inclusive, participant-centred approaches, which take account of the wellbeing of participants at all stages, valuing and encouraging each participant’s contribution in a manner that is fair, equitable and inclusive.
- Documentation and dissemination with the permission and involvement of stakeholders, taking account of relevant policies relating to child protection and vulnerable adults.
The strategy outlined a series of actions and commitments in three areas including :
- The promotion of Arts and Health at national level
- Resources and supports
A review of the impact of the new policy and strategy is currently underway but some key developments are already apparent:
- The development of a national Arts and Health resource – A new national resource www.artsandhealth.ie was developed and launched at the end of 2011. The website features information, case studies, and contacts from the sector
- A more integrated approach towards Arts and Health across a range of Arts Council funding supports – An R&D fund is being piloted among small to medium festivals supported by the Arts Council
- Partnerships – A series of exploratory meetings has been agreed between the Arts Council and the HSE in order to identify ways in which a more formal relationship could be built between the two organisations at national level