National Arts & Health Policy Forum

In June 2012 a group of around 40 delegates from the arts & health sectors attended an important forum in Canberra to discuss the proposed National Arts & Health Policy. 

Arts Minister Simon Crean gave an opening address, which began with a personal story of a friend working with Emma O'Brien, a Music Therapist at Royal Melbourne Hospital:

One of my oldest friends was in palliative care in the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He was helped by Emma O’Brien…they wrote a song together. And I’ve still got it, I still listen to it. It was a great example of a bloke that really had enormous courage but didn’t have that long to go…one of the exercises was to express himself and do it through song. He’d never written a song before…It highlighted again I think the importance of how other things can be used by way of people’s wellbeing.

He challenged the participants "to bring together your combined wealth of knowledge and experience to develop real direction for a health policy which incorporates the real opportunity working with the arts provides for new approaches to wellbeing and preventative medicine." 

While the National Arts & Health Policy has been placed on the agenda for state and federal Arts Ministers by John Hill MP, the South Australian minister for both Arts & Health, "if we’re being realistic, it’s going to have to be led through the Health Ministers", said Minister Crean.

The Music Council of Australia was represented by Tina Broad, Campaign Manager for Music: Play For Life. The MCA maintains a strong interest in the health and wellbeing benefits of leading a musically active life, and will maintain a strong interest in the National Arts & Health Policy.

The Arts and Health Foundation and its project partners the National Rural Health Alliance and Regional Arts Australia have secured the support of the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP and the Minister for Health, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, to hold this National Arts and Health Policy Forum.

To read background documents associated with the National Arts & Health Forum, click here.


Simon Crean's speech: