Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for our conference! We were overwhelmed with the passion amongst delegates to bring together the fields of the arts and play for health and wellbeing in research, policy, and practice. If you attended, you can complete our feedback survey here; or, if you didn't attend and want to learn more, see below for more information:


Over the last decade there has been a burgeoning interest in the benefit of arts and play for our health and wellbeing. However, despite evidence that shows the arts and play to have close connections in how they contribute to and achieve health outcomes for children and adults, there has been a dearth of action to encourage knowledge-exchange between these fields or to understand how the processes across these interventions may be similar. This conference aimed to address this gap, encouraging shared learning and asking critical questions that will support us to move forward in arts and play with new-found insight. 

This conference included:
• Keynote presentations from Dr Rosie Perkins and Dr. Wendy Russell.
• Creative workshops, lectures, and poster presentations.
• Creative ‘energiser’ sessions led by arts and play practitioners.
• Arts and play materials to creatively express responses to the conference.

You can view the full schedule here.

Keynote speakers

Dr Rosie Perkins: Reader in Performance Science at the Royal College of Music
Dr. Wendy Russell: Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork at University of Gloucestershire

Lewis Hou from Science Ceilidh also joined to lead a session of provocations to prompt debate and discussion.

The conference details

Who is the conference for?
This conference was for anyone working within or interested in the use of arts and/or play interventions for health and wellbeing. We take broad conceptions of these disciplines and of health and wellbeing, and we intend to attract a diverse range of people to present, such as those from the social and political sciences, arts, humanities, health and medicine. 

Call for abstracts

Our call for abstracts has now closed.  Take a look below at some of the themes explored across those who presented:

• The interconnections between arts and play interventions
• Play and/or art for psychosocial wellbeing or mental health
• The biological and physiological impact of engaging with arts and/or play
• Play and/or art for specific patient populations
• The social experience of engaging with arts and/or play activities
• The connection between play/art and nature
• How play and the arts can support a social prescribing model
• The value of the artist/practitioner
• Methodological challenges within arts/play research
• How play/arts is viewed within evidence-based policy
• The intervention itself: how do we determine what an intervention should be?
• Is Play Art? Is Art Play? Is there value in separating them? 
• What is the future of arts and play interventions?
• Provocations: critical reflections on how arts and play interventions are delivered
• Anything else you can think of that links arts and play - be creative!

Want to know more?

If you have any further questions, please contact us.

This event was organised by four doctoral researchers: Katey Warran (University of Edinburgh), Laura Wright (University of Edinburgh), Stacey Marko (Heriot-Watt University) and Grant Barclay (The University of Glasgow). It was funded by the Cohort Development Fund (Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities) and led in partnership with the Arts Health Early Career Research Network and the International Institute for Child Rights and Development. Support with Coordination was provided by Alice Gains (UCL).
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