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Invest to save: arts in health - reflections on a 3-year period of research and development in the North West of England

Parkinson, Clive (2009) Invest to save: arts in health - reflections on a 3-year period of research and development in the North West of England.

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Abstract

A reflective account of a three-year mixed-methodological research and development project in the North West of England, exploring the impact of creativity, culture and the arts on public health, taking national developments in the field into account. As a result of encouraging a wider critical discourse in the field, this project has contributed to the development of the language of arts and health practice. Art and science are frequently described as the twin pillars of civilisation, but rather than desperate attempts to wrap the arts in hard-edged objectification and pseudo-scientific language, we need to use a vocabulary that’s appropriate for a wider audience and in particular remember that it’s the creative practice, or experience, that is central. The arts have a profound affect on individuals and society, but while governments obsess with measurements of deficit and morbidity, culture and the arts offer us something more than a mechanism for target delivery, they illuminate our very essence and offer us a means of expressing what it is to be human.

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