Creativity, health and wellbeing: challenges of research and evidence
Creativity, health and wellbeing (CHW) has emerged as a multidisciplinary field of research, policy and practice over the last 20 years. Its beginnings can be traced from the establishment of art therapies in the post war period and from the growth of community arts in the 1960s, which fostered connections between arts professionals, researchers, educators and policy advocates seeking to respond to local challenges (White, 2009). Subsequently the CHW field has grown through evidence building, advocacy and sector development and there is now a wider recognition of the contribution of arts and cultural engagement to a wide range of policy objectives. For example, policies such as social prescribing view arts spaces, activities and resources as community assets that can be used to improve health, to support people living with long-term conditions and to reduce pressure on health services. Nevertheless, the successful integration of arts and creativity into policy and practice is some way off, partly because of ongoing theoretical, methodological and political challenges (Daykin, 2020).