WHO Collaborating Centre for Arts and Health

Collaborating with the World Health Organization to realise the global potential for the arts to support public health.

Within our team, we have a particular interest in the impact of the arts on our health and wellbeing. Our collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in recent years led them to grant our Group the status of WHO Collaborating Centre for Arts and Health in 2021.

This status encourages us to collaborate with the WHO and others to realise the potential for our research to contribute to global developments in policy and practice. Our focus on both social assets and social deficits also allows us to inform policies around particular public health concerns such as loneliness, isolation, and mental health. We can do this by both articulating the impact of those deficits on health and providing evidence to show which interventions and strategies may improve public health.

We are in regular contact with the WHO Europe Behavioural and Cultural Insights team, contributing to key meetings and reports; this supports the WHO to advance policies around arts and health both within the organisation, and throughout its member states.

Our projects and reports with the WHO to date

WHO Health Evidence Network synthesis report, 2019 A scoping review of over 3,000 pieces of research on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being.

Policy briefing, 2019 A report calling for intersectoral action from policy makers on the arts, health and wellbeing, within the WHO’s ‘Health 2020’ framework.

Public Health Panorama (WHO/Europe journal), 2020 An editorial within this special issue on arts and health

Policy briefing and evidence review, 2022 A report on how the arts supports the wellbeing of forcibly displaced people

Music and Motherhood Europe Supporting the roll out and evaluation of singing for postpartum depression in Romania, Denmark and Italy.

Policy mapping project Tracking and analysing international policies related to arts and health.

Programme area

Partnerships and networks



Project team

Dr Daisy Fancourt (Centre Director), UCL
Dr Katey Warran (Centre Deputy Director), UCL
Nils Fietje, WHO Europe