VicHealth focuses on strengthening social connections to improve health and wellbeing – both mental and physical.

Our social connections comprise people we know; the friends we confide in, the family we belong to and the community we live in. The need to belong, be connected and engaged in group and civic activities are intrinsic to mental health and wellbeing.

Person leaping into the airThese seemingly simple needs have a profound impact on mental health and wellbeing. However, activities that focus on enhancing social connection and participation must bring together many complex elements.

Important aspects of social connection include:

  • supportive social networks; family, friends and community groups
  • participation in social activities such as those run by community groups or clubs
  • civic engagement through community groups, such as church or volunteer, service clubs, and professional or political associations.

Active Arts

The VicHealth Active Arts Strategy aims to encourage physical activity and improve mental wellbeing for the benefit of all Victorians. 

It aligns our approaches with the National Arts and Health Framework and builds on our considerable experience in working across the arts and health sectors.

Key projects include:

People dancing

Swing City

White Night Melbourne and White Night Ballarat

Whether you’re ballroom dancing champions or the couple next door with four left feet, it’s time to start dancing in the streets!

Swing City is a dance marathon featuring almost every form of social dance, and set to the swinging sounds of big band music from the 30s, 40s and 50s. And everyone, including the audience, is invited to join in!

No experience? No worries! There’ll be crowd tuition and demonstrations. Got stamina to burn? Outlast the competition for hours of dancing and you could win prizes! Prefer to watch the experts first? We’ve got you covered, with Victoria’s community dance groups performing and your favourite Fred and Ginger movies screening as inspiration.

So for White Night Melbourne 2017, if you ain’t got that swing it don’t mean a thing...

Fun run

Fun Run

A Riotous Celebration of Endurance

By All The Queens Men
Project IV Betty Amsden Participation Program
Presented in partnership with our Active Arts partners, Arts Centre Melbourne and Circus Oz

Fun Run is a joyful community spectacle that pushes one man to the limits of his endurance.

Our fearless hero is Melbourne artist Tristan Meecham, who in homage to the Greek messenger Pheidippides, runs a gruelling 42 km on a treadmill live on stage, supported by a sizzling soundtrack, hundreds of performers and participants drawn from a multitude of Melbourne communities, dancers from Indigenous Hip Hop Projects and special guests.

This remarkable free event for the whole family has it all... shiny lycra, gleaming muscles, bouncing pom poms and a massive Fun Run Flash Mob that everyone can participate in.

You and your friends can even learn the dance in your own time and join in one of the pre-event flash mobs. Click here for more information.

Join the fun on event day and cheer on our running man. Will he hit the wall or complete his quest?

From 4:30-9:30pm Sunday 12 March

Theatres Building Forecourt

Arts Centre Melbourne - 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

More information

Circus Circus

Circus Circus

White Night Melbourne

In February 2016, the leading practitioners of 21st century circus converged on the state’s iconic world heritage listed Carlton Gardens for a contemporary re-imagining of the greatest show on earth. Circus Circus celebrated Victoria’s long history of circus with 12 exhilarating hours of gravity defying acrobatics, heart-stopping aerials and breathtaking feats of physicality, strength and daring.

Audience members were invited to stretch their minds and bodies for 720 minutes in the Circus Playground. 

Community Activation Program

Community Activation Program

This VicHealth investment aims to create and activate places within local communities that increase access to opportunities for physical activity and social connection.

For VicHealth, Community Activation means physically and visually transforming a public space or place within your community, then 'activating' it in a variety of ways that inspires and involves local people who are less active to get more physically active.

Five councils were selected to plan and pilot approaches to transform and activate a selected space within their community, with a view to it becoming a permanent site for physical activity.

VicHealth’s Active Arts Partners – Arts Centre Melbourne, The Australian Ballet and Circus Oz – will be assisting these local governments to activate their project sites and communities.

Find out more about the successful projects

Arts Innovation Challenge artwork

Innovation Challenge: Arts

The 2014 VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts called for new ideas to get more Victorians physically active and socially connected.

Getting involved in the arts – whether it's enjoying a museum exhibition, taking a dance class to get your heart pumping or going to a gig – provides people with an opportunity to gain new skills and express themselves, be inspired, and feel good about life in general. And we know that being connected and getting involved with the community reduces loneliness and helps people to make new friends.

Find out who the winners are