International Arts & Health Conference
Port Macquarie 2009

Why isn’t Arts in Health a priority in Education? Is it because children already know it? Have you ever been given a drawing from a child when you are not well? Have they ever said ‘I hope this makes you feel better’?

Pretty simple really… when you think about it!

So why don’t we listen to them? Why don’t we see enough value in the therapeutic value of the arts to educate our children in how to manage and learn for life.

Social capital is about the value of social networks, bonding similar people and bridging between diverse people, with norms of reciprocity (Dekker & Uslaner 2001)

‘the web of cooperative relationships between citizens that facilitate resolution of collective action problems’ (Brehm & Rahn 1997)

‘features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit’ (Putnam 1995)

Social capital is multidimensional and must be conceptualized as such to have any explanatory value (Eastis 1998)

Bobby Kennedy (’68) on what the Gross National Product means…

     ……but more importantly… what it does not mean!

“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product … counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armoured cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.  

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

What Fiona Did:

The Glasshouse







The Glasshouse
  • listened to Carrie from MoMA speak from the American museum perspective
  • was inspired by Beat-Boxing, Bobzillas, Butterflies and Bandaged Bears
  • heard about best practice models in arts and health programming
  • discovered how an artist from the UK managed her residency with indigenous communities in WA and the effects 
  • learned about Outreach Programs from both the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Australia and the impact upon community health through programming, audience development, affiliations and education 
  • observed images from a student Arts and Health Program at the Centre for Art and Medicine at the University of Minnesota
  • discovered how to develop a pro-active approach to working with the media
  • explored best practice policy, programs and research
  • discussed outcomes and Priority Recommendations to Government
  • booked Operation Art into the Glasshouse for 2011

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