HARP (Health, Arts, Research, People) is a multi-partner research and innovation programme that has been exploring how the arts can take a leading role in creating ‘A Healthier Wales’. Launched in 2019 in partnership with Arts Council of Wales, Nesta, Cardiff University’s Y Lab, the Welsh NHS Confederation and the Wales Arts Health and Wellbeing Network, the project concluded in spring 2022.
HARP has funded and supported 17 arts and health projects across Wales during the last two years. Based on the experiences and impact of the projects supported, the programme partners have co-produced a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at driving support for innovation in arts and health. There are separate recommendations for researchers and evaluators, policymakers, network facilitators, health and care leaders, and investors.
With the input of the programme teams, HARP has also produced a model for innovation in arts and health called the HARP Approach. It is a way of approaching innovation that centres around learning, collaboration and transforming health systems.
The HARP Approach illustrates what a people-powered innovation process can look like for teams and projects, broken down into four defined stages, each with distinct features and aims: groundwork, test, invest, scale. It is a tool to empower people working in this area to be analytical and reflective about their innovation projects, and to ask others for support as needed.