Manchester Metropolitan University

Impact Case Study

Arts and healthcare – global impacts on policy, research and practice

Stress, anxiety and depression are sadly widespread in modern society. Research by Manchester Met has shown that this can be reduced through involvement with the arts.

What we did

Research led by Arts for Health Director and Manchester Met’s Clive Parkinson aimed to strengthen the capacity of the North West regions’ Arts and Health community through networking, training and demonstrating the link between the arts, health and society  outcomes. Manchester Met have been the pioneers of research into the relationship between the arts and healthcare since the 1970s.

What we discovered

Culture has real value. Art improves quality of life for literally thousands of people.

The research team worked with established projects in the region, involving older people, people with mental health issues and organisations concerned with the relationship between health and the built environment. The findings showed that people were less stressed, less anxious and less depressed across all study groups when engaged with the arts. The impact on older people was particularly significant and has informed further work.

Why it matters

Findings from the research have contributed to UK Department of Health and Arts Council policies and the research has led to policy debates within the House of Lords. Parkinson  is now working with supporters within the House to help establish an All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts and Health.

The research has also impacted internationally, informing briefings to the Australian Parliament and to the Lithuanian Government.

"The global impact of thinking and practice on arts in healthcare derives very significantly from the credibility of Manchester Met research"

Rt Hon Lord Howarth of Newport