Performing Creativity, Culture and Wellbeing

16-17 February 2023

The Ian Potter Southbank Centre 43 Sturt Street Southbank, VIC 3006

Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative (CAWRI) and the Creative Arts and Music Therapies Research Centre (CAMTRU)
With a strong Arts and Health movement expanding across the globe, this event is underpinned by the growing need to value, understand, and develop evidence-informed arts routes to health and wellbeing. A wide range of scholars and representatives of stakeholder organisations, institutions and individuals will be offering perspectives from arts, culture and care sectors. The event is designed to build research synergies, enable group collaboration, and facilitate network development and expansion.

Christopher Bailey, Arts and Health Lead, World Health Organisation

Plenary Speakers:

Emeritus Professor Stephen Clift, Canterbury Christ Church University
Adrian Collette AM, CEO Australia Council for the Arts

Conference Convenors:

Professor Jane Davidson, University of Melbourne
Professor Felicity Baker, University of Melbourne

Contact Conference Coordinator

Thanks to all participants for a wonderful two days of discussion. We look forward to reconvening next year.

Video of Christopher Bailey's Keynote performance

A review of the conference focusing on the Artists' Wellbeing panel session titled "Putting the science behind performers’ well-being" was published by Arts Hub Australia on 20 Feb 2023


click on panel button for more information 
Download Conference Program Book
Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the many Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and honour their Elders past and present.
We respect their deep enduring connection to their lands, waterways and surrounding clan groups.
We embrace the richness of First Nations Peoples' artistic and cultural expressions.
Please note, this page will be updated regularly as more information comes to hand


Christopher Bailey, Arts and Health Lead, World Health Organization

Where you live: Connection and community through the arts
5:30pm (tbc) Thursday 16 February
Christopher Bailey is the Arts and Health Lead at the World Health Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland and a co-founder of the Healing Arts Initiative.

His keynote performance will touch on the arts' unique ability to form connection, within ourselves, with each other and with the world around us. He will touch on the anthropology of how the arts have been used throughout human history, what clues the biochemistry may suggest about the mechanism of the arts ability to form connection, and stories from the field of showing this connective ability in action.
The Arts and Health program at WHO focuses on fostering a network of research centers to build the evidence base for informed policy decisions of Member States, fostering arts informed approaches in community based health interventions in WHO priorities areas, and engage media, health and arts organizations to mainstream arts and health approaches into their work and amplify experiences in the field to the greatest number of people.

As the WHO definition of health states that health is not merely the absence of disease and infirmity but the attainment of the highest level of physical, mental and social well-being, the program encourages an asset-based approach to arts and health work and measurement, not only the reduction of deficits, with a special emphasis on excluded and underserved communities, identifying successful approaches and bringing them to scale.  


Prof Felicity Baker and Prof Jane Davidson, University of Melbourne
Conference Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country
9:10am (tbc) Thursday 16 February

Emeritus Professor Stephen Clift, Canterbury Christ Church University

The Need for Robust Critique in Evidence Reviews
9:30am (tbc) Thursday 16 February
Addresses: arts and health and arts therapies research
Approach: robust critique
Key concepts/drivers: scientific evidence; sceptical and critical stance
Key Question:

How can primary studies, evidence reviews, and peer review processes relating to arts health and arts therapies research be made more robust?
Stephen Clift is Professor Emeritus, Canterbury Christ Church University, and former Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. He is a Visiting Professor in the International Centre for Community Music, York St John University and the School of Music, University of Leeds.  Stephen has worked in the field of health promotion and public health for over thirty years, and has made contributions to research, practice and training on HIV/AIDS prevention and sex education, international travel and health, and the health promoting school in Europe. Since 2000 he has pursued research in arts and heath and particularly the potential value of group singing for health and wellbeing, exploring the value of singing for mental health, and for older people with COPD, dementia and Parkinson’s. Stephen was one of the founding editors of Arts & Health: An international journal for research, policy and practice and is joint editor of the Oxford Textbook of Creative Arts, Health and Wellbeing
Recently, I have adopted a more sceptical and critical stance towards research in arts and health and arts therapies. My investigations with a range of collaborators have revealed that academics conducting reviews of the field are insufficiently critical in their treatment of the research they include, and that where assessments of risk of bias are made, there is no consensus across independent reviews. In this address, I will present findings from a further exercise in robust critique taking a widely cited study by Cohen and colleagues (2006) on group singing, health and wellbeing which has been cited in no fewer than ten peer-reviewed evidence reviews concerned with the potential health benefits of active engagement in performing arts. I will show that these reviews take the findings from Cohen et al at face value and fail to recognise that the study provides no convincing scientific evidence for the health and wellbeing benefits of group singing. I will discuss implications for the conduct of primary studies, robust evidence reviews, and shortcomings in the peer review process prior to publication.

Adrian Collette AM, CEO, Australia Council for the Arts

Outcomes & Opportunities of the National Culture Policy
Friday 17 February (time tbc)
Adrian Collette is Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Federal Government’s principal arts investment, development and advisory body.

In his previous role as Vice-Principal (Engagement) at the University of Melbourne, Mr Collette was responsible for the development of the University’s Engagement strategy. His portfolio also included the oversight of the University’s museums and galleries and its many cultural sector partnerships. Previously, Mr Collette held the position of Chief Executive of Opera Australia, Australia’s largest performing arts company for 16 years. He also worked in book publishing for a decade, including as Managing Director, Reed Books Australia, a Division of Reed Elsevier.
Key Question:

What are the outcomes/opportunities that flow from the new National Cultural Policy.
He has served on the Australia Council Board and was a member of the Sydney Grammar School’s Council. He is also a Life Member of Live Performance Australia. He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for service to the performing arts particularly through executive roles with Opera Australia, as a mentor to young artists, to publishing and to the community.
Back to top of page


Presentations in brief, including key questions to be addressed (listed alphabetically)

Ageing Well

Chair: A/Prof Jenny Waycott

A/Professor Helen English, University of Newcastle
Addresses: older adults physical and mental health
Approach: creative practice led - community/ group music making
Key concepts/drivers: transformative adaptive ageing; participatory research; benchmarking; widening participation
How does transformation work for different people?

What approaches, practices, and mechanisms best foster transformation?
Professor Hod Orkibi, University of Haifa, Israel
Addresses: older adults’ mental health
Approach: psychodrama; and drama therapy
Key concepts/drivers: establishing co-creative interpersonal processes
What is the impact of group tele-drama therapy on mental health outcomes?

What is the association between in-session change factors and outcomes?
Professor Bill Thompson (presenter), Bond University
& Professor Jane Davidson (collaborator), University of Melbourne
Addresses: older adults' wellbeing
Approach: psychosocial; musical cognition
Key concepts/drivers: physical musicality; additive benefits; interactive benefits
What are the immediate- and long-term benefits of combining physical exercise and music for older adults, and do such benefits exceed those of each activity alone?

Are there protective benefits of musicianship and movement-based skill?

What can we learn from existing physical musicality practices and policies globally that support the ageing process?
A/Professor Jenny Waycott
Addresses: older people
Approach: human-computer interaction; participatory research
Key concepts/drivers: virtual reality; video calling; aged care settings; creative care practices; care ethics; pyscho-social care; storytelling, reminiscence, and connection
How can we best design and implement technology-based creative experiences involving storytelling, reminiscence and connection for social enrichment in later life?
Dr Elizabeth Brooke
Addresses: transition to retirement
Approach: social gerontologist
Key concepts/drivers: creative ageing framework; life-course transitions; social connection; ageism
How can the increased longevity of Australians be harnessed to enrich our extended lives?

How can the perceived losses entailed in retirement be re-envisioned by a systemic model of creative ageing post-retirement?

What cross-sectoral policies can breach the divide between arts engagement and the arts of care?
Back to top of page

Artists' Wellbeing

Chair: Dr Margaret Osborne

A/Professor Bronwen Ackermann, University of Sydney
Addresses: health education and practical applications to optimise physical aspects of performance in musicians
Approach: educational injury prevention, performance optimisation programs, evidence-informed approaches to better prevent and manage injuries in musicians
Key concepts/drivers: empowering cultural change through evidence-informed participatory health educational activities, transdisciplinary collaborations, translational research
How can we provide music educators with targeted and practicable information to help support the physical health needs of themselves and their students?

How do we encourage change in music settings so that critical health information and practices is seen as a fundamental requirement to improve performance as well as to reduce the current unacceptably high rates of physical and mental health issues?
Dr Sue Mayes AM, Australian Ballet & La Trobe University
Addresses: dancer healthcare
Approach: organisational injury prevention and management programs
Key concepts/drivers: participatory research, stakeholder consultation and buy-in
What are the key determinants in the success of intervention programs targeting improved professional ballet dancer health?

How can this knowledge be applied to improving the health of pre-professional and recreational ballet students?
Dr Margaret Osborne, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Addresses: mental and physical health needs of performance artists (particularly musicians) and others
Approach: psychological; acceptance-commitment and self-compassion-focussed therapy
Key concepts/drivers: performance potential maximisation; self-regulated learning; emotion regulation; embedding wellbeing culture in organisations; immersive virtual reality technology; psychological flexibility; ecological validity
What are the principles underpinning initiatives that successfully address the complexities of performer wellbeing?

How are interventions best measured, and benchmarks determined?
Professor Emma Redding, University of Melbourne
Addresses: fitness of dancers, physiological determinants of dance; study of dance science
Approach: physiology lab testing (observational and experimental)
Key concepts/drivers: dancers are athlete-artists however the physiological capacities of dancers and determinants of dance choreography are not fully understood.
What are the ideal physiological capacities of dancers, for optimal performance in dance?

How might dancer training reflect new knowledge and understanding gained from dance science research?
A/Professor of Music Therapy, Rebecca Zarate, Lesley University
Addresses: performing artists' performance anxiety; perfectionism
Approach: critical improvisation; reflective and reflexive use of music
Key concepts/drivers: social architecture of anxiety; artists' holistic well-being needs; improvisation as a way of life; music as nature’s adaptogen
How might we innovate the role and function of improvisation, and improvised, creative states as wellbeing mechanisms for performing artists/musicians? 

How might we innovate and advance current participatory action research practices about performance anxiety and perfectionism to influence wellbeing policy on global levels?  

How could we consider mixing in arts-based participatory methods into designs that have high levels of evidence as large scale data generators?
Back to top of page


Chair: A/Prof Jeanette Tamplin

Professor Felicity Baker, University of Melbourne
Addresses: people with dementia
Approach: music-stimulated neurochemical and neuroplastic processes, music-stimulated autobiographical recall, music attunement, entrainment, and music-sociology
Key concepts/drivers: maximising opportunities for shared meaningful connections; training of non-therapists; sensor AI technology
How can solutions to ensure that evidenced based arts interventions for people with dementia, their families, and professional carers be developed and what are the enablers and barriers for local, national, and global scalability?

How can interventions be adapted to accommodate diverse cultural needs and/or for places with lower levels of infrastructure and technological support?
Dr Sandra Garrido, University of Western Sydney
Addresses: older adults with dementia and adolescents with depression
Approach: music psychology
Key concepts/drivers: aged-care staff training in music for dementia; mood regulation through smartphone apps
What are the challenges to the effective use of personalised playlists in aged care settings for people living with dementia?
Professor Sabine Koch, Alanus University
Addresses: people with degenerative diseases, notably Parkinson’s
Approach: integrative physio-music-dance therapy
Key concepts/drivers: designing programs that have both physiological and psychological positive outcomes; analysing and reporting adverse events associated with research projects
How are dance therapy outcomes best measured?

How can the methods and results of Parkinson’s disease dance therapy research be translated to inform dementia and other degenerative disease research project development?
Barry Lewis
Addresses: people with Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's
Approach: lived experience
Key concepts/drivers: group singing activities; social interaction; care partner care
What are the personal mechanisms, challenges, and benefits associated with proactively working to slow the progression and alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease combined with Lewy body dementia through organised group singing?
A/Professor Jeanette Tamplin University of Melbourne (Panel Chair)
Addresses: Degenerative diseases (notably Parkinson’s and dementia)
Approach: Music therapy for neurorehabilitation
Key concepts/drivers: online therapeutic singing interventions, telehealth,
How can what has been learned by the COVID-19-motivated surge in internet-supported singing interventions be applied to best support those who are unable to attend in-person therapy sessions?

What are the best technological solutions to overcoming barriers such as latency to online therapy participation?
Back to top of page


Chair: A/Prof Grace Thompson

Caroline Bowditch, CEO, Arts Access Victoria
Addresses: d/Deaf and Disabled people in the arts
Approach: active pursuit of social, economic and cultural equity in arts environments
Key concepts/drivers: transformational and systemic change; Cultural Equity; reclaiming power, sharing experiences, shifting ideologies
What are the mechanism for fostering arts environments that are culturally safe and healthy zones of creative activity from a disability perspective?
Professor Joke Bradt, Drexel University, USA
Addresses: Chronic pain and symptom management, including anxiety
Approach: Interactive individual and group music therapy in clinical settings; mixed methods research
Key concepts/drivers: creative music engagement; improving pain-related self-efficacy and pain interference; underlying mechanisms of music therapy for chronic pain
What are the unique challenges to mechanistic understanding of music for chronic pain?
Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza, Flinders University
Addresses: Continuity and integration of care for Frail, Homebound, and Bedridden People
Approach: Mixed methods experimental design and measurement of healthcare interventions
Key concepts/drivers: continuity of care; integration, choice, inclusion, voice, justice, health, and wellbeing for different populations; cross-disciplinary participatory research involving consumers and stakeholders; Arts in Health Alliance South Australia
How can arts-oriented health research and technology optimally enhance networks bringing care to Frail, Homebound, and Bedridden People?

What lessons about continuity of care and integration should be acknowledged and accommodated in performing arts interventions?
Dr Anthea Skinner, University of Melbourne
Addresses: musicians with disability
Approach: empirical participatory exploration; historical
Key concepts/drivers: pedagogies for people with disability; adaptive technologies; using the Paralympic model as a guide to inclusive music education at all career stages.
What strategies and technologies do professional musicians with disability employ?

How can community perceptions of the experiences, strategies, practises and performances of the disability music community be reoriented so that diverse pathways to excellence are celebrated and normalised?
A/Professor Grace Thompson, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Addresses: Autistic children
Approach: play-based music therapy
Key concepts/drivers: co-creation of opportunities for creative expression; destigmatizing disability; music-making as play; revelatory, practice-based research that informs understandings about the nature of music, autism, and therapy
What musical interactions are most effective in building autistic children’s perceptions of being valued and respected?

What are the layers of complexity that must be addressed to design such musical interactions?
Back to top of page

Disaster response & recovery

Chair: Scotia Monkivitch

Professor Lisa Gibbs, University of Melbourne
Addresses: situating creative performing arts within the broader framework of disaster recovery and resilience
Approach: a program of disaster resilience and recovery research using multiple methods and settings
Key concepts/drivers: Recovery Capitals Framework; social influences on disaster recovery
How do we build evidence about the contribution of creative performing arts to disaster resilience and recovery?
Anna Kennedy-Borissow, University of Melbourne
Addresses: the wellbeing of disaster-affected communities
Approach: interdisciplinary, qualitative research
Key concepts/drivers: advancing research in the field of creative recovery, psychosocial wellbeing for disaster-affected communities, community-led disaster recovery, critical hope; meaningful engagement between the arts & cultural and emergency management sectors
What are the key aspects of arts and cultural participation that contribute to recovery and resilience for disaster-affected individuals and communities?
Scotia Monkivitch, Executive Officer, Creative Recovery Network (Chair)
Addresses: value of culture, creativity and the arts in Australia’s disaster management systems
Approach: relational, interdisciplinary collaborations; advocacy
Key concepts/drivers: disaster resilient Australia; community engaged practice;  ethical, accessible, systemic practice
How can narratives about the benefits of arts-based initiatives in disaster contexts be built to grow support and investment?

What skills and attributes do creatives need to work successfully with disaster-impacted communities?

How can nationally applicable, epistemologically sound indicator data sets be created?
Simonne Pengelly, University of Newcastle
Addresses: disaster affected and at risk communities
Approach: identifying points of intersection for creative enterprise to inform, impact, and enhance disaster management approaches
Key concepts/drivers: transdisciplinarity; disaster risk reduction; creative industries; community resilience, social bonding and social capital
How can creative enterprise assist to build stronger, disaster resistant, communities?

How can the embedded cultural capacity of arts endeavours affect the social transformation needed to protect people against increasing disasters?
Dr Jen Rae, Centre for Reworlding & RMIT University
Addresses: the role of artists in climate emergency disaster risk reduction and resilience
Approach: practice-led research; creative resilience methodology.
Key concepts/drivers: creative resilience, creative methodologies, disaster risk reduction and resilience, speculative practice, disaster preparedness, co-designing with communities
How can researchers, emergency management and communities work with artists to bolster disaster risk reduction and resilience in a climate-impacted future?

In what ways can a creative resilience methodology support transdisciplinary collaboration in emergency preparedness, response and recovery

What is the role of speculative futuring in disaster risk reduction and resilience?
Back to top of page

First Nations

Chair: A/Professor Jeanine Leane

Dr Julia Hurst, University of Melbourne
Addresses: truth-telling about Australia and about Aboriginal identity
Approach: historical-empirical
Key concepts/drivers: revising Australian history-telling and present day experience narratives to incorporate Aboriginal experience
What are the expectations and ethics of truth-telling; what are the right and wrong ways of history telling?

How can Aboriginal understandings of connection to place and country be translated and understood by “other” people?

How can sustainable Aboriginal history narratives be created?
A/Professor Jeanine Leane, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Addresses: First Nations People's representations
Approach: practice-led research and creative writing
Key concepts/drivers: interconnected and relational knowledge systems of First Nations Peoples; storytelling as a practice of re-embodiment, reconnection and reclamation
What is the potential of First Nations Storytelling or Yarning for intervening in the linear structure of colonial institutions to achieve better overall quality of life, representation and well-being for all First Nations peoples and our descendants
Tiriki Onus, University of Melbourne
Addresses: First Nations' culture in Australia
Approach: practice-based artistic production
Key concepts/drivers: challenging the discourse of deficit; reframing the experience of invasion; First Nations' resistance; cultural thrivance
What is it that we have collectively missed out on through the attempts at cultural erasure within Australia’s history?

How can we tell these stories more boldly?

What makes us strong?
Professor Naomi Sunderland, Griffith University
Addresses: First Nations People’s health and wellbeing
Approach: anti-oppressive and trauma informed creative practice;
Key concepts/drivers: social justice; reflective and reflexive practice; intergenerational healing
How can ancient and contemporary First Nations' strengths in arts-led creative, cultural, and community work practices be appropriately leveraged to promote First nations people’s health and wellbeing through research and creative practice?

What does it feel like to co-facilitate such arts-health engagements and research and what are the potentially holistic benefits of doing so?
Evelyn Araluen Corr, University of Sydney
Addresses: tba
Approach: tba
Key concepts/drivers: tba
coming soon
Back to top of page

Intercultural Arts Practices

Chair: Dr Tanya Marie Silveira

Trisna Fraser (presenter) Webpage, Dr Alex Crooke (collaborator) Webpage & Professor Jane Davidson (collaborator), University of Melbourne Webpage
Addresses: migrant wellbeing
Approach: social network analysis of intercultural music ensembles
Key concepts/drivers: digital musical engagement; intercultural ties; knowledge creation through musical engagement; inclusion, understanding and cohesion between migrants and host communities
When and how can music be used as an instrument or site for fostering inclusion, understanding and cohesion between migrants and their host communities?

How can a conceptual framing of the potentialities of different cultures interacting with each other through musical participation be constructed?
Dr Charulatha Mani
Addresses: migrant, asylum seeker, and refugee wellbeing
Approach: cultural-linguistic
Key concepts/drivers: singing and song for healthy living; culture, identity, and belonging are integral to attaining self-agency and ownership in health and wellbeing contexts
What is the role of ‘song’ in achieving better health outcomes across the lifespan?

How can ‘song’ be used in ways that are intergenerationally and interculturally empowering?

Can the outcomes of research about culturally-informed singing and song-writing generate new methods of impact measurement?
Zii Nzira, Co-CEO, Multicultural Arts Victoria
Addresses: multiculturality; African Australian creatives
Approach: community-based
Key concepts/drivers: Social justice; colonial structures; intercultural arts practices; intrinsic value of art
What are the power dynamics at play in intercultural arts practice?

How can the way intercultural arts practices are valued and supported be shifted to escape dominant narratives or address overlooked social and political issues?
A/Professor Nisha Sajnani, New York University | Steinhardt
Addresses: intercultural good practice
Approach: dramatherapy
Key concepts/drivers: co-production of care as central to expressing equity and justice in arts and care practices.
How can equity, agency, and voice be centered in the arts and health and arts therapies?
Dr Tanya Marie Silveira, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Addresses: intersectionality, cultural recognition, wholistic wellbeing of both client and practitioner
Approach: learning from lived experience
Key concepts/drivers: recognising the historical practices of music; considering the impact, benefits and challenges of the music therapists’ lived experiences in their delivery of therapeutic practices; realising aspects of lived experience as a resource in therapy (if and when appropriate)
How can we more appropriately acknowledge the historical roots of the healing practices of music as therapy in education and practice?

How can we better support creative arts therapists who experience challenge in the workplace due to their cultural identity?

How can we learn from creative arts therapists with diverse backgrounds?

How can we be better allies to our colleagues and clients/patients?
Back to top of page

Mental Health

Chair: Prof Kat McFerran

Professor Michael Anderson, University of Sydney
Addresses: educators, parents and researchers
Approach: participatory action research; randomised control trials
Key concepts/drivers: play, drama and early childhood mental health
What role does drama and play have in addressing and building mental health?

How can these approaches be understood and measured

What is the role of partnerships with artists and educators in the design and delivery of these programs and the research?
Professor Genevieve Dingle, University of Queensland
Addresses: Mental health
Approach: psychological; music therapy
Key concepts/drivers: accessible and effective mental health interventions for adults; treatment of chronic or subclinical (not acute) mental health symptoms; meaningful engagement in group activities improves mental health
What are the variables associated with engaging in music activities that bring about improved mental health and wellbeing?

What should be considered when developing accessible and effective music-based mental health interventions that bring people together and counter the stigma of mental illness?

Are arts-based interventions equally valid and effective mental health interventions as the current clinical approaches?
Liss Gabb, Manager, Social Connection and Mental Wellbeing, Future Healthy Group, VicHealth
Addresses: social connection and mental wellbeing of youth in communities that experience structural disadvantage
Approach: socially engaged practice
Key concepts/drivers: anti-oppressive models of partnership; co-design; reducing structural inequality; nurturing BIPOC creative leaders; cultural safety; Future Reset Youth Summit 2022
How can BIPOC social connectedness and general wellbeing be improved through community-based imagination-enactive arts interventions for youth?

What are the values, principles and practices of codesigning arts interventions for mental health?
Professor Vicky Karkou, Edge Hill University
Addresses: mental health of children, young people and adults
Approach: systematic gathering of evidence regarding arts-based therapies; development of complex arts-based psychological interventions, scaling up of arts therapies projects
Key concepts/drivers: bringing creativity to the NHS, encouraging safe arts practice with vulnerable groups, fostering collaborations between artists, community arts facilitators and arts therapists
What is the current state of play in arts therapy research?

How can complex arts-based psychological interventions become manualised for use in outcome studies?

How can arts projects be scaled up at a regional national and international level?
Professor Kat McFerran, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Addresses: Youth Mental Health, Music Listening
Approach: Playlist Construction, Music Therapy, Prevention
Key concepts/drivers: Mental Health Continuum, Healthy and Unhealthy Uses of Music, Conscious Music Listening
How do music listening habits change as mental health deteriorates?

How can we identify young people who rely on music during difficult times to increase their awareness of how music helps?

What measures would be appropriate for capturing the prevention of mental health problems through healthy music listening?
Back to top of page

Policy & Implementation

Chair: Dr Tully Barnett

Dr Tully Barnett, Flinders University (Chair)
Addresses: Arts for health policy
Approach: cultural policy; historical
Key concepts/drivers: policy supporting the role of the arts in contributing to health and wellbeing of all Australians
How have different policies and strategic frameworks supported arts and health projects in the past?

How can research and research communication help deliver the Australian Federal Government’s Arts and Health Framework 2.0?

What radical thinking might the pandemic have let into the social imaginary?
Dr Christen Cornell, Research Fellow and Manager of Research Partnerships: Australia Council for the Arts
Addresses: the current policy context for furthering work in arts, health and wellbeing
Approach: partnerships across the arts and cultural sector, research and training institutions, and investment bodies
Key concepts/drivers: Research partnerships, advocacy and advice, policy frameworks, professional development and support structures for creative practitioners working in mental wellbeing settings.
What opportunities does the new National Cultural Policy offer to progress arts for health and wellbeing programs?

How can we continue to build on the work of the National Arts and Health Framework with this, and with other recent shifts in the policy environment.

What are the current opportunities for building support structures for creative practitioners working in mental health settings?
Dr Christina Davies, University of Western Australia
Addresses: Good Arts, Good Mental Health - research translation into partnerships, policy and practice
Approach: Quantitative and qualitative research; cross-sector partnerships.
Key concepts/drivers: Levels of evidence; policy relevant research; presenting research via results and language relevant to the general population and the Arts, Health, Mental Health and Government sectors
In the current funding environment, is it possible to translate arts-health research into cross-sector policy and practice?
Kate Fielding, CEO, A New Approach (ANA)
Addresses: Role of arts and culture in health and wellbeing
Approach: informing policy development through evidence-based (surveys, focus groups) research
Key concepts/drivers: transformative impacts of arts and culture; purposeful cross-portfolio and cross government policy and investment; vision: Australia as cultural powerhouse whose compelling creativity is locally loved, nationally valued and globally influential by 2035
How can all tiers of government be encouraged to deliver effective cultural investment – at levels that that meet or exceed the OECD cultural funding average – that supports improved well-being, health and skills for all Australians?

How can the new Federal National Cultural Policy be leveraged to achieve this?
Sam Strong, Executive Director Creative Industries, Creative Victoria
Addresses: the role of policy in linking creativity and wellbeing in the creative industries and society
Approach:  identify successful interventions, gaps in current approaches, and opportunities
Key concepts/drivers:  supporting the health of the people working within the creative industries; the limits of Government intervention; the opportunities of a broader definition of creativity and a cross-portfolio approach
How can we support the creative industries to be a healthier place to work? And what are the downstream impacts of that?

What are the current limits on Government intervention into health and wellbeing through the lens of the creative industries? What effect does a focus on professional practice have on linking creativity and wellbeing?

What are the opportunities of a broader definition of creativity? How can we strengthen health and wellbeing as an accepted measure of success for the creative industries?
Back to top of page

Social Justice

Chair: Dr Sarah Woodland

Professor Michael Balfour, University of New South Wales
Addresses: The role of the arts and social justice in negotiating the politics of care in health contexts
Approach: social applications of theatre and performance
Key concepts/drivers: broad thinking about the visual and aural architecture of space and place; festivals of care for hospital staff
How can imagination be activated and questions of justice and ethics explored through theatre and performance activities?

How can safe, meaningful, and creative approaches that respect and acknowledge burnt-out workforces, understaffing and low resilience be developed?
Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet, Griffith University
Addresses: entrenched social inequity
Approach: social and cultural investigation and analysis of community music making activities
Key concepts/drivers: interdisciplinary and cross sector partnerships; the vital role that music and the arts can play in addressing escalating inequities, displacement, and divisions in society
How do place-based initiatives that bring diverse stakeholders and sectors together with communities to collectively address the complex challenges underpinning social inequity?

How can we become better at conceptualizing and critically framing how the positive outcomes from music making lead to the kinds of macro, systemic changes needed for social equity to occur?
Kamarra Bell-Wykes, Independent Theatre Maker
Addresses: First Nations communities and health equity
Approach: theatre making and performance, community and sector facilitation
Key concepts/drivers: culturally-led, culturally safe performance practices; theatre in health education
How can First Nations-led theatre and performance practice contribute to facilitating holistic health equity among First Nations communities?
Dr Gillian Howell, University of Melbourne
Addresses: social inequity of First Nations, war-affected, and displaced communities
Approach: applied ethnomusicology; peace and conflict studies
Key concepts/drivers: industry-based partnerships; participatory action research; community music; minority voices; voice, listening, story, and shared future imaginaries
What is the role of voice in arts-based social justice work and what are the limitations of voice as a social justice process and goal?
Dr Sarah Woodland, University of Melbourne (Chair)
Addresses: mass incarceration and the criminalisation of disadvantaged communities
Approach: arts-led inquiry, applied theatre as research, critical investigation of prison arts programmes.
Key concepts/drivers: theories of carcerality; alternative forms of justice; decolonising and rights discourses; interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral, and cross-cultural partnerships; the role of performing arts in challenging systemic oppression.
How might performing arts intervene in the over-incarceration of racialised and marginalised communities?