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Art and Wellbeing: the growing impact of arts on health

PSSRU LSE Literary Festival discussion

Date: Tuesday 23 February 2016
Time: 5.15-6.45pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Lizz Brady, James Leadbitter, David McDaid, Vivienne Parry
Chair:  Professor Martin Knapp

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life” (Picasso) but how far can the arts improve health and wellbeing? Alongside advances in medicine and care, there is an increasing evidence base that the arts can significantly improve health and wellbeing as well as preventing illness. In addition to benefits to individuals, the arts can also improve the environments in which care is provided and the wellbeing of staff and unpaid carers providing that care. This event will explore our current understanding on how engagement with the arts can increase wellbeing, with individual talks from those involved in science, art and health research and open discussion. 

Lizz Brady, a visual artist and curator based in Manchester, is the founder of Broken Grey Wires, a contemporary art organisation responding to and exploring mental health, philosophy, and psychology. A collective of five artistes working closely with communities, Broken Grey Wires works to open up a dialogue and provide inspiration and opportunities for people with mental health difficulties. Lizz's work has been described as striving to "create a ‘Cartesian Dualism’, a link between physical ‘stuff’ and thinking ‘stuff’; through the building of installations, to form ‘The Moment’ where juxtaposed ideas permeates to fill the empty spaces, in the solid world or within our imagination". 

James Leadbitter is the vacuum cleaner (@vacuumcleaner), an art and activism collective of one. Working across form: including performance,installation and film, the vacuum cleaner addresses challenging and taboo issues such as consumerism and mental health. From one-man shows to large-scale participatory actions, his approach is both subtle and extreme, but always candid, provocative and playful.His work has been exhibited internationally and commissioned by: Tate Modern, ICA and NottinghamContemporary.His films have been commissioned by BBC4 and Channel 4. He cofounded the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (2004 - 2009) and is an Arts admin Associate Artist.

David McDaid (@dmcdaid) is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow in Health Policy and Health Economics at the Personal Social Services Research Unit at LSE. He is involved in a wide range of work on mental health and public health in the UK, Europe and at the global level. He is a co-ordinator of the Mental Health Economics European Network, a member of NICE’s Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee since 2007, Co-Convenor of the Cochrane Campbell Economic Methods Group and has acted as an advisor to a range of organisations, including the European Commission and World Health Organisation, and national/regional governmental departments, including the Department of Health in England and equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales. He has published over 300 peer reviewed papers and reports, including a report for the UK Department of Health which looked at the economic case for investing in mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention. He is a past winner of the European Health Management Association’s Baxter Award in 2007 for the best book on health policy – Mental Health Policy and Practice across Europe.

A scientist by training, Vivienne Parry (@vivienneparry) hosts medical programmes for Radio 4, writes widely on health, presents films, facilitates many high level conferences and debates and trains young researchers. She also has a part time role as head of engagement at Genomics England which is delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project. She has written a number of books. The Truth about Hormones was shortlisted for the 2006 Aventis Science Prize and has been translated into 10 languages.

Martin Knapp is Director of PSSRU and Professor of Social Policy at LSE, and Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research.

The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) (@PSSRU_LSE) is part of LSE Health and Social Care, which is located within the Department of Social Policy. LSE has established a reputation for depth, breadth and excellence in British social science, with a long history of policy impact. 

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2016, taking place from Monday 22 - Saturday 27 February 2016, with the theme 'Utopias'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELitFest

For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at events@lse.ac.uk 0207 955 6043.


A copy of Lizz Brady's powerpoint presentation is available to download. Download 'Art and Wellbeing: the growing impact of arts on health' (pdf).

A copy of David McDaid's powerpoint presentation is available to download. Download 'Recognising the value of art for health and wellbeing' (pdf).

Podcast & Video 

A podcast and video of this event is available to download from Art and Wellbeing: the growing impact of arts on health

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).