The Australian Performing Arts Market are continuing their Wire series with Arts in Health: New Opportunities for Collaboration, their 18th online series webinar. This event features presentations from Bebe Backhouse, Stacey Baldwin, Dr Tully Barnett, Linda Jackson and Michelle Ryan and is facilitated by Priya Pavri. They will be discussing the new possibilities for the creative collaboration between healthcare providers and performing artists.


APAM is a strategic initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts, they have run their Wire series monthly since 2019. The series aims to highlight different perspectives relating to in-market experience and creative practice. This particular event presents conversation from artists, producers and academics, working in both the arts and health areas and outlines how collaboration between the two industries can be beneficial for both sides. Melanie Burge, associate producer at APAM and producer of the Wire #18 event elaborates:

“APAM is thrilled to present this panel of artists, practitioners and thinkers. Going beyond the understood benefits of arts in health from a wellbeing perspective, we’re really interested to explore the opportunities and untapped potential for Australian artists in terms of collaborations, commissions and presentations in a healthcare context.”


One webinar presenter, Dr Tully Barnett is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries at Flinders University. She is the director of the Assemblage Centre for Creative Arts, described as the “meeting point of art and science, health, technology, engineering, industry and community”, and Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture, a project centred around examining the arts in ways other than its economic output. Dr Barnett shed some light on her current projects and how they relate to the concept of collaboration between arts and health:

“I’ve recently completed a report on the history of Arts and Health work in South Australia with my colleague Dr Alex Cothren and we have found some really useful insights into what has worked in the past, where some energy has been let out of the movement and the unending determination of people who work in arts and health to have impact on people’s health and lives through engagement with diverse arts experiences. Yet we also learned that we often have to have the same battles every day to justify the presence of arts in health settings. The evidence is overwhelming but sometimes the problems are political.

Arts in Health provides benefits to patients, we know that from the multiple studies and systematic reviews that have been piling up for decades. But Arts in Health work also provides benefits to staff in health care settings and, not insignificantly, to the artists and arts workers involved in the projects.

An important case study for this is the work of Flinders Medical Centre’s Arts in Health program, which benefitted from the innovative work of Sally Francis for many years and is now being led by Stacey Baldwin whose perspective on the diverse kinds of benefits artists experience in arts and health settings promises to bring new richness to the field locally, nationally and internationally.

It’s an important time for arts in health work right now.”


Presenters, Bebe Backhouse and Michelle Ryan demonstrate their experience in artistic practice as creatives and producers, highlighting the benefits of the arts on the wellbeing of wider community. Other presenters, Stacey Baldwin and Linda Jackson highlight their experiences working in healthcare, such as South Australias’s Flinders Medical Centre and Cleveland’s Center for Arts in Health, drawing attention to institutions that are already exploring collaboration between arts and health.


Wire #18: Arts in Health: New Opportunities for Collaboration will take place on Tuesday the 12th of July from 9:30 to 11 am AEST, via Zoom.


More information, including a link to register for the event, can be found here.


Article by Rosa Clifford
Feature image: Wire #18 webinar presenters, clockwise from top left: Linda Jackson, Priya Pavri, Michelle Ryan, Bebe Backhouse, Stacey Baldwin, Dr Tully Barnett.