Page 1

WE THINK YOU TWO HAVE A LOT IN COMMON AND WILL MAKE SOME GREAT THINGS HAPPEN TOGETHER. NOW TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES.


The Grace Experience: An Interactive Exhibit (Photo: NikNaz K)


CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................................................................................1 A CULTURAL ENABLER.................................................................................................................................................................2 WHERE WE’VE COME FROM AND LOOKING AHEAD....................................................................................................4 OUR VISION .......................................................................................................................................................................................6 OUR VALUES + OUR APPROACH TO CHANGE.................................................................................................................8 ACTIVATING OUR VISION..........................................................................................................................................................10 CREATIVE CONVENING: A NEW PLATFORM FOR COLLABORATION...................................................................12 STRATEGIC STORYTELLING: MAKING THE CASE AND TRANSLATING KNOWLEDGE................................14 COMMUNITY HEALTH PROMOTION THROUGH ARTS AND CULTURE..............................................................16 DESIGN THINKING: NEW THINKING AND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS.......................................................................18 SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................................................................................20


INTRODUCTION There is increasing recognition that health and wellness is influenced by more than our physical state of being. For instance, we are seeing more evidence linking social interaction and community involvement to measurable impacts on our health and the body’s ability to heal.

But a confluence of shifts in society is leading to new ways of thinking and new ways of reuniting these deep human values back together.

It comes as little surprise then that an emerging body of evidence points to the valuable role arts and culture play in improving the health and wellbeing of citizens.

We are learning more about the healing and wellness aspects of creativity and witnessing more individuals tapping into their inner creative resources for their personal health – just as an accessible public health care system, with an aging population and escalating costs of technology and pharmaceuticals, is becoming more difficult to sustain.

We are learning how involvement in the arts achieves positive outcomes for patients, for health care staff, for the patient–staff relationship, for the health of communities and for the general population. Who can imagine activities that connect us to each other, bring meaning, beauty, physical and intellectual challenge, and engage our shared values, more than arts and culture? It has only been in very recent history, and in particular in North American cities, that creative expression – dance, singing, drawing, artful making – has been divorced from regular, daily experience.

At the same time, changes in technology and the rise of social-media-enabled networks mean that individuals can express themselves more freely and share their creations more broadly. We are also learning how creativity and design thinking is helping those in traditional left-brained disciplines generate more holistic, problem-solving capacity. 1


A CULTURAL ENABLER Arts Health BC is a new provincial ‘social profit’ organization seeking to connect these trends, and working to promote, develop and support the understanding of what the arts can do to contribute to a healthy society.

With our focus on individual and public engagement, we hope to empower artists, creatives and health professionals across the province, to act as cultural enablers, promoting engagement in the arts so that everyone in BC can have the opportunity to develop a rich and varied creative life as a path to health, healing and wellbeing.

We are part of a growing national network of individuals and organizations that believe in the value of the arts to individual and community health and wellbeing, as well as to our public health care system.

This story, or framework, articulates who we are, the unique role we hope to play, and constantly links back to our profound belief that the arts and creative activities should be valued and embraced as integral to individual and community health, wellbeing, and quality of life.

We would like to see the arts integrated in the fabric of our communities, where participation or engagement in arts and cultural activities is embraced as a way of life, integral to meeting the health and social needs of all British Columbians.

“This idea is a game changer. It has the power to dramatically rewire how we think of self-care and the health of future generations.”

We adopt a broad definition of arts and health, to include creative and cultural activity pursued along the continuum of health, to include health promotion, prevention, healing, aging in place, palliative care and more.

– Dialogue Participant

2


Chinese Seniors Arts Health Program (Photo: Claudette Carracedo)


WHERE WE’VE COME FROM AND LOOKING AHEAD A powerful combination of vision and hard-to-ignore research sparked the creation of both a national and provincial organization dedicated to arts and health. Over a decade ago, the BC Arts Council conducted a review of arts and health literature – a first in Canada.

It represents the input of the national and provincial Boards of Directors, members of the national Advisory Council, staff, and a range of stakeholders locally, regionally and provincially. We spoke to leaders within the health care system. We connected in passionate conversations and idea generating sessions with representative groups of researchers, creatives, conveners, community workers and practitioners.

The result: overwhelming evidence that the arts positively contribute to both individual and community health, as well as to medical treatment outcomes, and the wellbeing of professional health care workers.

We sought input from our existing membership through surveys, meetings and interviews, and shared our emerging ideas at conferences. Further, we have met as an organization to take stock of and confirm our enduring values and commitments.

After convening dialogues with an emerging group of specialists and practitioners from across the country, a dedicated group of volunteers and researchers created a national network, Arts Health Network Canada, to support knowledge exchange, networking, and public awareness. A provincial organization was also established to focus on arts and health in British Columbia.

There is much more reaching out to do. We know that we haven’t connected with everyone, and yet what we have heard is compelling. There is a tremendous appetite for this work.

Now with a new organizational vision for arts and health in British Columbia, we present this framework for Arts Health BC that articulates a clear and sustainable direction for the future.

We see the next few years as an opportunity to share our vision and promote innovation in a field that is attracting growing interest and momentum. 4


Jazz Festival (Photo: NikNaz K), Chinese Seniors Arts Health Program (Photo: ClaudetteCarracedo), The Grace Experience: An Interactive Exhibit (Photo: NikNaz K)


OUR VISION TO CHAMPION PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT IN THE ARTS AS A PATH TO IMPROVED HEALTH, HEALING AND WELLBEING FOR ALL BRITISH COLUMBIANS.


(Photo: courtesy of Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration)


OUR VALUES + OUR APPROACH TO CHANGE We are committed to a set of principles and values that will guide our decisionmaking now and in the years to come: • Collaboration: We value the power of collaboration, the strength of partnerships and the resilience of communities. We are committed to working alongside others who share our values and vision for change. • Diversity and Inclusivity: We value practices and policies that welcome and support broad participation among a range of socio-economic backgrounds, genders, abilities, ages, and cultures. • Creativity: We value the rich and varied creative expression of every individual and community and we are committed to innovative solutions in arts, design, social practice and community dialogue to address society’s pressing challenges. • Accountability: We hold ourselves and others accountable to act respectfully, responsibly, and with authenticity and integrity.

In activating our vision and increasing participation and engagement in arts and health: • We seek system and behavioural changes that connect the intrinsic human value of arts and culture to health, healing and wellbeing at the individual and community level. • We recognize the assets and knowledge of all – health care CEOs, general practitioners and specialists, professional creative arts therapists, community arts practitioners, academics, artists and members of marginalized populations. We are committed to honoring experience and breaking down silos of knowledge that limit participation and create exclusive practices. We want more lighthouses and fewer clubhouses. • We see sharing of ideas, partnerships, knowledge mobilization and participatory processes as important ways to model the change we seek.

8


The Chinese New Year Parade (Photo: Linda Tsang) Photo Credit Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet


ACTIVATING OUR VISION So how will we express this vision and these values through action? We will take the lead in the field of arts and health in BC through education, engagement, collaboration, and professional development. We will create opportunities for artists to engage new audiences within health care, academia, and community contexts. Further, we will continue to play a pivotal role in helping to foster closer, more collaborative relationships between health professionals, institutions and the wider community through the arts. We have developed four core themes that underpin our vision and will focus our activities now and in future. They are:

Creative Convening: A New Platform for Collaboration Strategic Storytelling: Making the Case and Knowledge Translation Community Health Promotion through Arts and Culture Design Thinking: Creative Solutions and New Approaches

10


Pride Parade (Photo: Linda Tsang) Photo Credit Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet


CREATIVE CONVENING: A NEW PLATFORM FOR COLLABORATION We will create a collaborative platform for dialogue, learning exchange, partnership development, and community engagement, activated by events, activities and outreach grounded in arts-based practices.

This means: • connecting members and like-minded audiences through collaborative tables, meet-ups, dialogues and creative opportunities to share ideas; • brokering cross-sectoral relationships/partnerships in the arts, culture, design, health, recreation, and wellness sectors; • incubating prototype projects that contribute to the collective impact of arts and health, and provide scalable and shareable case studies, models, and best practices; and • creating training opportunities to develop a roster of arts and health practitioners.

We will take a multi-disciplinary approach that combines innovation in convening – open space, deliberation and dialogue with contributions from the visual arts, expressive arts, comedy, theatre, dance performance, design and architecture, urban planning, music, technology, popular culture, photography, and other creative endeavors. We will create opportunities for collaboration among facilitators, artists, practitioners, health care workers and change makers who share our vision.

12


Arts Health Network Canada Dialogue (Photo: Courtesy of The Royal Conservatory) Photo Credit Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet


STRATEGIC STORYTELLING: MAKING THE CASE AND TRANSLATING KNOWLEDGE We will share the evidence that arts and creativity contribute to measureable improvements in health, healing and wellbeing as broadly as possible through compelling and cutting-edge visual, narrative, artistic, and technological strategies.

This means: • honing the most powerful statistics and research findings that make the strongest case across all audiences; • developing visual storytelling through video and photography that capture the impact of projects; • using the power of social media to create networks and share information broadly; • using public speaking and faceto-face storytelling opportunities to connect new constituencies to passionate advocates; and • developing a strategic communications plan to support public outreach.

As ‘Arts and Health’ is a novel concept to many, we will present the existing research connecting art/culture and health in a clear and compelling manner. This plan is anchored in the goal of moving public and stakeholders from knowledge through involvement into empowerment.

14


Youth-led arts programming (Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver Foundation)


COMMUNITY HEALTH PROMOTION THROUGH ARTS AND CULTURE We believe the arts play a valuable role in engaging excluded or hard-to-reach populations who may not connect with traditional methods of health outreach.

This means: • developing partnerships with the health sector to prototype projects that reach a variety of populations including: older people, youth, people with mental illness, newcomers to Canada, etc.; • creating interdisciplinary, intercultural and intergenerational opportunities for engagement through the arts; • connecting with municipalities to ensure that the arts are part of healthy community strategies; and • offering opportunities for dialogue regarding best practices for arts and community health.

We will promote, develop and support the understanding of what the arts can do to contribute to a healthy society, and by so doing, encourage the use of the arts in settings beyond the mainstream. Many communities in BC are at risk of exclusion from both arts and health services. Access to arts activities could dramatically enhance well being, social inclusion and strengthen the community.

16


(Photo: NikNaz K)


DESIGN THINKING: NEW THINKING AND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS There is a growing body of research to suggest that well-designed civic and health care environments can have positive effects on everyone – from improving social interaction and workflow, to access, to public services, to improvements in health and recovery times.

This means: • developing partnerships with those making policy and delivering capital projects in primary care and hospital infrastructure; • brokering relationships for artists and knowledgeable designers to get them involved in design discussions from the earliest stages; • developing partnerships with and offering strategic expertise to municipalities undertaking significant planning exercises to ensure that conversations about arts, health and design can figure in their longrange plans for development of public spaces and amenities; and • drawing design thinking to the attention and focus of leaders in the health sector to alert them to opportunities to innovate and improve the experience for all.

BC is a hotbed of interest and expertise in design and design thinking, from architecture and public planning to industrial design labs and facilitators who use design principles to engage citizens in more lively and productive conversations. We see this theme as an opportunity to broaden the definition of arts to include design thinking both within health care and public settings.

18


A-maze-ing Laughter (Photo: NikNaz K)


SUMMARY We are a nimble organization, inspired by opportunities to share knowledge, broker relationships and incubate new projects and artistic solutions to improve health and wellness. Over the coming years we will pursue a number of key operational priorities in order to activate our vision. These will include: * innovation in programming that ranges from cross-sectoral dialogues to capacity building workshops for artists and health care professionals; and * collaboration with researchers and academic institutions as a way to measure our impact and contribute to the evidence base via innovative made-in-BC projects. * pursuit of a sustainable, stable operational and financial model for our organization that supports innovation; * enhanced visibility through clearer articulation of identity and increased communications and outreach; We are inspired by the possibilities before us and invite you to share your ideas and join us in this journey. artshealthbc.ca

20


artshealthbc.ca 1-877-352-3670 admin@artshealthbc.ca

Profile for Arts Health BC

A Vision for Arts & Health in BC  

Arts Health BC is part of a growing national network championing participation and engagement in the arts as a path to improved health, heal...

A Vision for Arts & Health in BC  

Arts Health BC is part of a growing national network championing participation and engagement in the arts as a path to improved health, heal...