13 November 2018

The Art of Good Health

This year’s annual director of public health report asks ‘Should we look closer at the role of arts in health?’

It highlights the positive impact being involved in the arts can have on health and wellbeing at all stages of life.

Headline figures show that locally people are more likely to engage with the arts than elsewhere in the country – but that we still have inequalities. People with disabilities and those who are carers engage less than the rest of the population. The report states that addressing this is a high priority so that everyone across the city can benefit.

The report illustrates that the arts can build better emotional health and wellbeing, promote healthy lifestyles, help people manage long term conditions, reduce social isolation, improve communication and help support the bereaved. It links closely with the city’s cultural framework, which sets out how public bodies and the cultural and creative sector will work together to ensure more people can benefit from participating.

Brighton & Hove City Council's Director of Public Health Alistair Hill said: “For my first report I have chosen to focus on the contribution arts and culture make to health and wellbeing locally - and what more we can do. We absolutely should be looking at the role of arts in improving health, especially in our highly creative city.

“There is good evidence on how the arts can help to improve health and wellbeing. Locally we already have so many community arts groups working in health and care settings, as well as health activities running in arts and culture settings. We also have a fantastic opportunity to promote better health and wellbeing at one of the 60 festivals we have each year in Brighton & Hove.

“If we work on the recommendations, continue to build on existing good practice and ensure that the arts are inclusive for everyone across the city, we could become a nationally recognised centre of excellence for the arts and culture in supporting wellbeing.

“I want to thank everyone for their input into the report, particularly the very talented Shanni Collins from our public health team who created the beautiful and vibrant artwork we used in the report.”

Chief Executive Geoff Raw said: “This report provides a new and refreshing twist on how we can nurture and improve the health and wellbeing of the city seen through the lens of art and culture. The strength of our arts and culture sector and the number of residents who participate, is one of our city’s defining characteristics.

“Working with a range of colleagues and partners, Alistair has reached out to embrace this vibrant sector and his report points to how we can channel its creative energy for our personal health and social wellbeing.” 

You can read the full report at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/public-health