As the statutory bodies with national responsibility for health and the arts respectively, the HSE and the Arts Council have agreed to work together to explore the potential for a formal framework to support the development of arts and health practice in Ireland. The research is being undertaken within the context of the Healthy Ireland Framework (2013 – 2025), the Arts Council’s Arts and Health Policy (2010) and new strategy Making Great Art Work, Leading the Development of the Arts in Ireland (2016 – 2025).


Arts and Health practice, involving artists and arts organisations working across all artforms, has been taking place across health care settings in Ireland since the early 1990s. The Arts Council has supported numerous projects, programmes and strategic development initiatives in the area of Arts and Health since the late 1990s and developed a formal Arts and Health Policy in 2010. While no formal arts policy exists within the Department of Health or the HSE, projects and programmes continue to be developed by HSE staff in partnership with professional artists and arts organisations across the country. In the absence of policy or guidance at national level, however, arts and health practice has been developing in an ad-hoc fashion; impact, learning and resources are not always optimised and standards of practice can be uneven.

Joint AC / HSE Research Project

Following a tendering process, the Arts Council and the HSE have contracted the services of a research team in order to:

  • identify the extent and nature of the work that is happening in the area of arts and health in Ireland
  • explore the establishment of a formal framework to support the development of arts and health practice in Ireland
  • examine what form such a framework might take and to consider the most strategic and effective options in this regard

The research team is being led by Dr. Catherine McCabe of Trinity College, Dublin. The team will be making contact with individuals and organisations involved in the area of Arts & Health in order to map what is happening and to gather perspectives.

If you would like to contribute to this research process please email Dr. McCabe at


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