A two-year inquiry will result in the publication of policy proposals, with the hope of seeing the arts become more valued as contributors to health.

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MPs are working together to drive forward developments in the field of arts and health. A two-year inquiry, launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, hopes to stimulate progress by supporting practitioners and influencing policy-makers.

The MPs will publish a report proposing political and policy initiatives in 2017. Co-Chair of the APPG Lord Howarth of Newport said: “Our aim is to inform a vision for political leadership in the field of arts, health and wellbeing, so as to support practice and research and to stimulate progress.”

The context of the Inquiry, Lord Howarth said, was the need for a coherent framework for the commissioning, delivery and evaluation of arts interventions, contributing to the NHS’s and Public Health England’s objectives.

“Equally we recognise with others the need for better integration between arts organisations, the wider voluntary community and private as well as public providers,” he said.

“We hope that, through the combined efforts of us all, the arts, museums and heritage will become very widely valued and fully established contributors to health and social care services, promoting good health and wellbeing.”

Over the next two years, the APPG will hold a series of round tables with academics and practitioners, as well as advisory group meetings with key stakeholders including arts and cultural bodies, and inquiry meetings with key witnesses.

So far, the APPG has met to discuss music and health, the Care Act, and art and dementia. Further round tables are planned on topics including:

  • young people, mental health and resilience;
  • arts-based social prescribing;
  • and community arts and public health.

The inquiry was launched in November in collaboration with King’s College London, with funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. MPs are working in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity and the Royal Society for Public Health Special Interest Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

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