WHO, Lancet and Jameel Arts & Health Lab launch new research collaboration on the health benefits of the arts

The Jameel Arts & Health Lab and the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the launch of a research collaboration on the health benefits of the arts. The 'Jameel Arts & Health Lab - Lancet global series on the health benefits of the arts' was announced at a side event during United Nations General Assembly Healing Arts Week at a reception that followed the WHO75 Wellbeing Concert at Carnegie Hall.

The series builds on a 2019 WHO report regarding the benefits of the arts on health and wellbeing. The series, expected to be published in 2024, focuses on noncommunicable diseases, raises awareness around the existing body of evidence for the role of arts in health and offers recommendations on policy guidance, programme scaling and stakeholder collaboration.

Christopher Bailey, co-founding director, Jameel Arts & Health Lab, spoke at the launch reception, saying: "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."


WHO and the Jameel Arts & Health Lab have announced a forthcoming Lancet Global Series on the health benefits of the arts.

The research collaboration, which kicked off on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), builds on a 2019 WHO report that presented evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being. The report identified the contribution that the arts may have in promoting good health and health equity, preventing illness, and treating acute and chronic conditions across the life-course. These activities can range from dance programmes for people with Parkinson’s Disease, music therapy for pain management, and drama therapy to support social-emotional development, among many others.

“For too long we have seen Science and the Arts as separate endeavors,” said Sir Jeremy Farrar, Chief Scientist at the WHO. “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 rigor, and help position artists and scientists as necessary partners towards health and well-being for all.”

The National Tribune