Ground-breaking research series on health benefits of the arts

The Jameel Arts & Health Lab and the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the 'Jameel Arts & Health Lab - Lancet global series on the health benefits of the arts' on 20 September 2023 at a launch reception for the series following the WHO75 Wellbeing Concert at Carnegie Hall as part of UNGA Healing Arts Week.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, chief scientist at the WHO, spoke at the event, saying: "For too long we have seen science and the arts as separate endeavors, but these silos were not always so. Through much of human history, the creative interface of different disciplines has been a catalyst for both innovation and healing. So I am delighted that this Jameel Arts & Health Lab - Lancet global series will show the scientific basis of the arts’ role in health with rigour, and help position artists and scientists as necessary partners towards health and well-being for all."

Co-founding director of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab and WHO arts and health lead, Christopher Bailey, said: “When we remember the WHO definition of health, which states that health is more than merely the absence of disease and infirmity, but the attainment of the highest level of physical, mental and social well-being, then the value of the arts becomes apparent. Our measures should reflect this holistic approach, focusing not solely on reduction of symptoms but on how the arts may help us cope, achieve our potential, be productive, and active members of a community. This special Lancet series will look at the health benefits of the arts and creative expression not solely from a medicalised view, but a holistic asset-based approach as well.”

Dr Miriam Sabin, North American executive editor, The Lancet, added: “The Lancet is pleased to convene this series on the centrality of the arts in health—a topic that has been too long neglected by the health sector and donors. The arts must be seen as both central to the human experience and important in the maintenance of good health. This Lancet Series will hopefully provide the foundation of evidence needed to ensure that the arts will be viewed as essential, in particular, to prevent and support people with noncommunicable diseases.”

World Health Organisation

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