21 Oct 2019


VENUE: Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium, University of Sydney

To transform public health, we need to think creatively. Creative practices have transformative effects on public health. How can we embed the arts to provide better healthcare?


While medicine treats, it doesn’t always heal. Growing evidence is confirming what we may have known intuitively: culture is intrinsic to our health.

The arts play a role in advancing public health because they present a new vision for healthcare — a more connected form of care that enables us to better handle pain, suffering, grief and trauma.

Creative practices — from writing to yarning, dance, music and theatre — allow individuals and communities to express and perhaps reclaim what’s been lost from treatment and prevention: spirit, language, country and culture.

In this event, hear from internationally renowned artists and researchers including Clive Parkinson (Manchester School of Art) and Vic McEwan (The Cad Factory) as well as Indigenous mental health clinician Akeshia Dart and perinatal mental health specialist Nicole Reilly, both from the University of Newcastle.

Our speakers will present case studies of exemplary practice in the burgeoning field of arts in health, along with a series of provocations for policymakers, artists, health professionals and health consumers.

This event is co-presented with Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) and the Arts Health Network (NSW-ACT).

Artist Biography

Clive Parkinson

Clive Parkinson is the Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, a specialist research unit that explores the relationship between creativity, culture, the arts and health. He is Reader in Arts, Health & Social Justice at the Manchester School of Art and a founding member of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

He is currently involved in research around dementia and recovery from substance misuse, and is in a long-term collaboration with partners in Lithuania.

Vic McEwan

Vic McEwan is the Artistic Director of The Cad Factory, an innovative arts organisation based in regional NSW. Through this organization, Vic explores experimental and contemporary arts practice in partnership with diverse sectors.
Vic’s practice involves working with sound, video, installation and performance with a particular interest in site-specific work. He is interested in creating new dynamics by working with diverse partners and exploring difficult themes within lived experience. Vic aims to use his work to contribute to and enrich broader conversations about the role that the arts sector can play within our communities, and he is currently enrolled in a PhD at the University of Sydney.