Opening up the world of arts and health at 15NRHC

Explore some of the highlights by clicking on the images above.

Peter Brown
National Rural Health Alliance

It would not be a Rural Health Conference without the arts and health stream.

Arts and health co-ordinator, Kelly Drummond Cawthon, has developed a program that highlights local Tasmanian performers and artists in the plenary and concurrent sessions of the Conference. Kelly’s program promises a wide variety of artists performing, presenting, giving workshops and opening up the world of arts and health.

Prominent in the program are performances organised by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and a presentation by the Nayri Niara Centre which highlights the Centre’s transformational activities aligned with Indigenous traditions of healing.

While the program features the creativity of the local arts community, Kelly has also attracted an international component with a keynote presentation by Jill Sonke, Director of the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida. Jill is active in research, teaching, and international cultural exchange. Her current research focuses on the arts and health communication, the arts in public health, and the effects of music on cost and quality of care in emergency and trauma medicine.

Arts and health always feature prominently in the program of the National Rural Health Conference because the National Rural Health Alliance sees the linkage between the two as a key element in building wellbeing and health for all Australians. The arts can play a valuable role as a means of communication on health and health-related issues; they often provide therapy in a range of settings and for a variety of conditions, and can be used to complement treatment and management. In addition, arts activities are a potent force for community development, to sustain communities and develop their capacity to deliver health-promoting lifestyles.

These themes will be reflected in the papers to be presented across the four days of the conference. Some of the topics include: mental health and the rural art roadshow; Unconformity - the place of contemporary arts festival in the life of Queenstown in Tasmania’s West Coast region; using art to translate research findings to communities; and the ins and outs of song writing workshops in a rural community.

And the fun element will also be prominent!

Explore some of the arts activities by clicking ont he images above.  Learn more about the arts and health program here.


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