The International Health Humanities Network, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, works to develop ways that arts and humanities knowledge and practice can enhance health and wellbeing. It brings together a number of scholars and practitioners across the humanities, medical and health and social care, and creative industries to work alongside service users, caring and the public to consider advancing health and wellbeing through the arts and humanities in hospitals, residential and community settings. Professor Paul Crawford defines Health Humanities as
“Health Humanities champions the application of the arts and humanities in interdisciplinary research, education and social action to inform and transform health and social care, health or well-being. It aims to be inclusive of viewpoints and contributions from within and beyond medicine; value the experiences and resources of the public; explore diverse approaches to achieving, maintaining or recovering quality of life; and strives for demonstrable impacts, not least in providing new evidence and insights for the education or practices of those planning, organising or working for the health of any population.”
The International Health Humanities Network website highlights how the health and wellbeing of society has been enhanced by language, literature, history, theology, law, philosophy, visual, performing and multimedia arts, media and cultural studies (to name a few!). Members of the public are invited to share their ideas of how arts and humanities have benefited them and may benefit others experiencing a particular challenge to their health and wellbeing.
Places are still available for this year’s conference on Changing Society: Community Wellbeing and Transformation – How health humanities can change the world. The conference programme has been finalised and is in Southampton (2-4 Aug).