Since 2017, we have published over 70 academic papers linking arts and culture engagement to people’s health and wellbeing at a population level. Today, we are pleased to be releasing a new summary report from this work, revealing new insights into how peoples’ arts activity is linked to longevity and health outcomes across different life stages, including:

  • more positive health and social behaviours in children and young people
  • better mental health in adulthood
  • lower risks of depression and dementia in later life
  • lower levels of chronic pain and frailty, and even a longer life. 

Our findings have come from the team’s analysis of data from cohort studies, which track the activities and health of large numbers of people throughout their lives. The techniques we have used have also enabled us to show that this positive relationship holds even when factors such as demographics, socio-economic position, and other health conditions are taken into account.

Why is this important?

Our findings may help policymakers, health professionals, and arts practitioners understand more about the long-term impact of the arts. This presents an opportunity to reimagine the role of the arts in supporting the prevention of poor health, as well as helping to treat and manage illness.   

Our Group’s head, Dr Daisy Fancourt, says: “What we’ve found is that the arts have a unique and important role to play throughout our lives, helping us to stay well and live longer. But we also know that access to cultural experiences is unequal and not everyone is benefiting as they should. We therefore urge policymakers, funders, health and cultural organisations to consider how they are supporting more equitable, high quality arts engagement for everyone as a pillar of public health.” 

Our full report, and four short policy briefings, can be found here: 

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