Description of initiative
The role of arts and culture in supporting the health and wellbeing of the citizens is well recognised by Birmingham City Council. Throughout the last year, the Birmingham City Council worked to champion their local grassroots community organisations to conduct arts, culture, and health projects specific to communities. The projects aimed for participants to become ambassadors of good health and to empower them to share knowledge with their own and other communities, allowing for active learning to occur. Projects identified a range of measures that helped with the prevention, management, and treatment of a range of different health outcomes. Furthermore, projects were delivered in wards with high levels of social and economic deprivation, helping to reduce health inequalities for the citizens within those areas. 28.9 per cent of projects were delivered in the wards that were the top 10 most deprived, while 75.6 per cent of projects were delivered in the top 20 most deprived wards. This suggests that the majority of participants were from some of the most deprived areas of Birmingham, which identifies further the impact of targeted, local, and place-based public health commissioning, specific to arts and culture.
Further information on the initiative
Themes: Culture and...
Sources of funding
Results, benefits, impact and lessons learnt
Birmingham City Council will continue to champion, fund, and support the field of arts, culture, and health in many ways, from their permanent inclusion of the Arts and Culture programme within the Public Health Division to the development of our council-wide cultural strategy.
The impact of arts and culture on the promotion of public health is well recognised, and they are committed to ensuring that this impact is felt at a social, political, and structural level to have a lasting legacy. Birmingham City Council are currently developing the Creating a Healthy City Strategy which will underpin the public health approach as a city from 2022-2030 and help further champion the role of arts and culture within public health.
It is their goal to ensure that everyone in Birmingham has the right and equal opportunity to engage and participate in arts and cultural activities for the benefit of their health, irrespective of where they may live or work, according to the extent that their desire, ability, and creative resource will allow for.
The direct and indirect impact of our arts, culture and health projects have allowed for opportunities to celebrate, reflect and inspire our communities, with the aim of projects having a lasting legacy and impact fostering community cohesion, pride, and social action. Direct impacts were seen on mental health (socialisation, confidence, motivation), physical health (antenatal care, cardiovascular health), health literacy (knowledge of conditions and non-communicable diseases), and behaviour and lifestyle change.
The projects commissioned help bridge the gap, and as demonstrated, engagement with arts, culture, and health projects has a beneficial effect on health and wellbeing, and therefore has a vital role to play in public health and in preventing illness and infirmity from developing or worsening in the longer term.