King’s College London launches research into impact of arts on health

King’s College London (KCL) will run the largest ever study on the impact that arts can have on physical and mental health. The study, run in conjunction with University College London, is funded by a GBP2m (€2.32m) grant from the Wellcome Trust.

Titled SHAPER – Scaling-up Health-Arts Programmes: Implementation and Effectiveness Research – the study will be led by KCL professor of biological psychiatry Carmine Pariante and UCL’s Dr Daisy Fancourt, associate professor of psychobiology and epidemiology.

The study will test arts interventions such as singing groups for postnatal depression, dance classes for people with Parkinson’s, and movement and music sessions for stroke patients. Trial groups will be made up from patients at NHS hospitals and health centres.

“There is growing research on the impact of the arts on health,” commented Pariante. “But more work is needed to take programmes from successful local projects with short-term funding to national programmes commissioned by the health sector.”

Other partners include English National Ballet and Breathe Arts Health Research.