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VicHealth Arts Strategy 2019-2023

Research and Publications

Participating in the arts has multiple benefits for health and wellbeing: it reduces social isolation, strengthens community connection and builds self-esteem, as people pursue creative activity alone or in groups.

Download: VicHealth Arts Strategy 2019-2023 (PDF, 118 KB)

Click here to download a Plain English version of this document (DOCX, 124 KB)

Our longstanding commitment to the arts is based on our knowledge that participation in the arts and cultural activities has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. The arts provide an important community setting for health promotion, a partnership model for the co-design and delivery of initiatives, a unique participatory experience with the potential to build connection and a vehicle to inform and create behavioural change. This understanding paves the way for our Arts Strategy over the next four years.

Focus areas

Increasing participation and diversity in the arts

While we seek to improve the health of all Victorians, engaging hard-to-reach audiences who have poorer physical and mental health than the general population is critical to creating greater opportunity for health, wellbeing and fairness in health outcomes. Research shows that the more people engage in the arts in their everyday lives, the better their health outcomes (Davies et al. 2016).

Over the next four years, we will:

  • strengthen our collaboration with local government, research partners and the arts sector to increase access for everyone to everyday creativity and its health benefits
  • build the capacity of arts organisations and local government to co-create activity with marginalised communities.

What will success look like?

  • Strong partnerships with a range of organisations to increase access to everyday creativity.
  • More co-creation opportunities for arts organisations and local government to provide marginalised communities with access to arts activities with health benefits.


Embedding the arts and creative industries across our work

There is clear evidence that the arts have a range of benefits for health and wellbeing (Australian Government 2014).

Evidence for the strong interrelationship between participation in the arts and positive individual and community health outcomes continues to evolve through our new focus on aligning arts investment with our five strategic imperatives: alcohol, healthy eating, mental wellbeing, physical activity and tobacco.

Through the arts, we aim to improve population health and reduce health inequities by promoting healthy lifestyles, discussing sensitive health issues, communicating health-related concerns and increasing health literacy. Over the next four years, we will:

  • review and publish evidence of the contribution that the arts, cultural activities, environments and creative industries make in addressing diverse health issues
  • support new partnerships with arts organisations and sectors that engage the public in solutions to prevent harm from mental health conditions, gender inequality, alcohol, physical inactivity, tobacco and unhealthy eating.

What will success look like?

  • Dissemination of the evidence that arts-related activities can help to address a range of health issues.
  • Encourage new and diverse partnerships that engage the public and stakeholders to address health issues.


Harnessing arts and cultural settings as powerful enablers to influence awareness, attitudes and behaviours

The arts and cultural settings are important environments that can support a range of preventive health strategies. In the next four years, we will:

  • collaborate with local government, the arts, and cultural settings to influence and embed policy and practice to provide healthier food and drink options and environments
  • design and test programs that help create healthier arts and cultural environments.

What will success look like?

  •  Healthier food and drink options and environments in more local government, arts and cultural organisations.
  • Successful trials and new evidence of what makes for healthier arts and cultural environments.

Other resources

Download: VicHealth Arts Strategy 2017-19 (PDF, 53 KB) 

References: Download the VicHealth Arts Strategy 2019-2023 PDF for a full list of references.

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.