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Arts and health

Chapter in book
Authors Gunilla Priebe
Morten Sager
Published in Culture and health: a wider horizon / Ola Sigurdson (ed.) ; translation: Rosemary Nordström
Pages 55-90
ISBN 978-91-88348-63-0
Publisher Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Göteborg
Publication year 2015
Published at Social Medicine unit
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 55-90
Language en
Keywords konst och hälsa, kultur och hälsa, gränsobjekt, hälsopromotion,
Subject categories Public health science, Theory of science, Cultural Studies


The field of Arts and Health is part of the broader field of Culture and Health. The orientation of the field is practical and methodological and it translates and examines the idea that the arts can have a healing effect and promote well-being. This chapter is an analytical introduction to the Arts and Health field. The hope is that it will engage and intrigue and lead the reader to explore further, for example via the extensive reference list. We also present a few concepts that can create an understanding of the field - beyond the isolated examples we discuss. The chapter is into three sections, which gradually elevate the analytical level. In the first, 'The arts as health-promoting link between body and mind', we present examples of how people in the Arts and Health field justify their activities. In the second section of the chapter, 'From spiritual inspiration to measurable health outcomes', we present a model, the Arts and Health Diamond, which illustrates the various aims in relation to which Arts and Health projects are usually designed. The chapter ends with the section 'Arts and Health between science and society', in which we analyze a few fundamental questions about the nature of science, art and social benefit. Arts and Health may be seen as incorporated in a multifaceted 'boundary project' in which the boundaries of good science and art are negotiated. This boundary project has bearing far beyond the field of Arts and Health.

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