Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Arts as Treatment? Innovation and resistance within an emerging movement

Yoeli, Heather; Robson, Mary; McLusky, Sarah; Macnaughton, Jane

Arts as Treatment? Innovation and resistance within an emerging movement Thumbnail


Heather Yoeli

Profile Image

Mary Robson
Senior Creative Facilitation Manager

Sarah McLusky


Purpose: For years, the Arts and Health (AaH) movement has been guided by values of art for art’s sake, practitioner as Artist and artist as Outsider. These values are instrumental to the effectiveness of AaH as a relational and process-driven tool for individual empowerment, collective health activism and social change. This paper explores how the AaH movement, together with the artists operating as AaH practitioners, has responded to the political and economic and policy transitions of recent years. Methodology: This paper critically analyses and updates the frequently-cited Diamond model of Smith (2003) and Macnaughton, White and Stacy (2005) exploring how and why, within a UK context of neoliberalism, austerity and evidence-based practice, AaH is being increasingly drawn into the methods and governance of medical and rehabilitative services. Findings: Whenever AaH in the UK is governed by health services, it becomes reconceptualised as therapy or treatment. It risks relinquishing its artistic and philosophical identity and distinctive effectiveness. Originality: This paper builds upon the Diamond model to present two new models, the Stalactite and the Helictite. These new models conceptualise the current situation and the potential future fragmentation of the AaH movement, highlighting how AaH might remain faithful to its core values.


Yoeli, H., Robson, M., McLusky, S., & Macnaughton, J. (2020). Arts as Treatment? Innovation and resistance within an emerging movement. Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, 2(02), 91-106.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 30, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Dec 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 3, 2020
Journal Nordic journal of arts, culture and health.
Publisher Scandinavian University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 02
Article Number 91-106
Pages 91-106


You might also like

Downloadable Citations