Bridging the gap between arts and play for health and wellbeing in research, policy and practice, Arts Play Health is a two-day conference coming to The University of Edinburgh on 9 and 10 September 2020.

Over the last decade there has been a burgeoning interest in the benefit of arts and play for our health and wellbeing. However, despite evidence that shows the arts and play to have close connections in how they contribute to and achieve health outcomes for children and adults, there has been a dearth of action to encourage knowledge-exchange between these fields or to understand how the processes across these interventions may be similar. This conference aims to address this gap, encouraging shared learning and asking critical questions that will support us to move forward in arts and play with new-found insight.

This two-day conference will include:

  • Keynote presentations from Dr Rosie Perkins, Reader in Performance Science at the Royal College of Music, and Dr. Wendy Russell, Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork at University of Gloucestershire
  • Creative workshops, lectures, and poster presentations.
  • Creative ‘energiser’ sessions led by arts and play practitioners.
  • Arts and play materials to creatively express your response to the conference.
  • A panel session about opportunities across the arts and play sectors.
  • A ‘world café’ to explore the intersections of play and art, and to foster connections, particularly between researchers and practitioners.

Who is the conference for?
This conference is for anyone working within or interested in the use of arts and/or play interventions for health and wellbeing. We take broad conceptions of these disciplines and of health and wellbeing, and we intend to attract a diverse range of people to present, such as those from the social and political sciences, arts, humanities, health and medicine. We invite those working within research, policy and practice, and seek to provide a platform for discussion across these fields.

Call for abstracts
This is a creative conference and the organisers are open to creative modes of sharing your ideas. They are offering 20-60 minute slots which can be filled with spoken or poster presentations, workshops, or group activities. As this is an art and play conference, creative approaches are welcomed to share experiences and ideas.

For information on abstract themes and how to submit an abstract see

Closing date for abstracts: 20 March 2020 at 5pm.

Conference details 
Dates: Wednesday 9 September (9.15am – 6pm) and Thursday 10 September 2020 (9.30am – 5.30pm)
Venue: Chrystal Macmillan Building, The University of Edinburgh, 15a George Square

Conference organisers
This event is being organised by four doctoral researchers: Katey Warran (University of Edinburgh), Laura Wright (University of Edinburgh), Stacey Marko (Heriot-Watt University) and Grant Barclay (The University of Glasgow). It is being funded by the Cohort Development Fund (Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities) and led in partnership with the Arts Health Early Career Research Network.

Booking information will be announced on


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