The term arts and health describes arts practice with clear artistic vision, goals and outcomes that takes place in healthcare contexts.
Arts and health practice takes place in a diverse range of healthcare settings, including acute and mental health care, public and private care including hospitals, hospices, doctor’s surgeries, drop-in centres, daycare and community based settings. It can involve any artform including; film, music, visual arts, dance, architecture, literature, theatre and involve health service users of all ages and abilities, their family, visitors and healthcare staff.
Over the last two decades arts and health practice has developed significantly in healthcare settings in Ireland, connecting with a population that is often excluded, and challenging assumptions about the nature of a legitimate arts venue. It offers diverse opportunities to healthcare staff, service users and visitors to engage in an exploration of their environment and a reimagining of their experiences. It also stimulates and challenges artists to create high quality artwork and facilitate high quality arts experiences through collaboration and experimentation.
Arts and health practice is distinct from arts therapy. Arts therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the arts as its primary mode of communication. In arts and health the primary goal is the experience and or production of art.