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Arts and Health Promotion

Tools and Bridges for Practice, Research, and Social Transformation

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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

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  • Synthesizes theory on health promotion and applied arts for a wide range of scholars, practitioners, and educators
  • Provides inspiring materials to spark innovative applications for practice
  • Presents numerous illustrated practical examples that bridge geographical locations, languages, cultures, and experiences
  • Applies a critical approach that promotes discussion of how the arts contribute to social justice
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

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Table of contents (21 chapters)

  1. Introduction

  2. Arts and Health Promotion: Tools and Bridges for Practice

  3. Arts and Health Promotion: Tools and Bridges for Research

  4. Arts and Health Promotion: Tools and Bridges for Social Transformation


About this book

This open access book offers an overview of the beautiful, powerful, and dynamic array of opportunities to promote health through the arts from theoretical, methodological, pedagogical, and critical perspectives. This is the first-known text to connect the disparate inter-disciplinary literatures into a coherent volume for health promotion practitioners, researchers, and teachers. It provides a one-stop depository for using the arts as tools for health promotion in many settings and as bridges across communities, cultures, and sectors. 

The diverse applications of the arts in health promotion transcend the multiple contexts within which health is created, i.e., individual, community, and societal levels, and has a number of potential health, aesthetic, and social outcomes. Topics covered within the chapters include:

  • Exploring the Potential of the Arts to Promote Health and Social Justice
  • Drawing as a Salutogenic Therapy Aid for Grieving Adolescents in Botswana
  • Community Theater for Health Promotion in Japan
  • From Arts to Action: Project SHINE as a Case Study of Engaging Youth in Efforts to Develop Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Strategies in Rural Tanzania and India
  • Movimiento Ventana: An Alternative Proposal to Mental Health in Nicaragua
  • Using Art to Bridge Research and Policy: An Initiative of the United States National Academy of Medicine

Arts and Health Promotion is an innovative and engaging resource for a broad audience including practitioners, researchers, university instructors, and artists. It is an important text for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, particularly in program planning, research methods (especially qualitative methodology), community health, and applied art classes. The book also is useful for professional development among current health promotion practitioners, community nurses, community psychologists, public health professionals, and social workers.


“This book represents a bold step in the direction of increasing awareness of the role of the arts in health promotion, and as such is a hugely welcome contribution to the field of arts and health.” (Stephen Clift, Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, Vol. 4 (1), 2022)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Health and Community Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, USA

    J. Hope Corbin

  • Grupo de Didáctica de las Ciencias, IFLYSIB, CONICET - UNLP Grupo ¿De qué hablamoscuando hablamos de Chagas?, La Plata, Argentina

    Mariana Sanmartino

  • Department of Psychology Institute for Collaboration on Health Intervention & Policy, University of Connecticut, Storrs, USA

    Emily Alden Hennessy

  • Faculty of Psychology, Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

    Helga Bjørnøy Urke

About the editors

J. Hope Corbin is associate professor and director of the Human Services program in the department of Health and Community Studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Her scholarship focuses on intersectoral collaboration to reduce inequity in the social determinants of health and on partnership as a mechanism for leveraging diverse ways of knowing, and power, for emancipatory health promotion. She is particularly interested in North-South partnership and promoting equity in global health promotion research. She is also focused on how incorporating the arts in health promotion practice, research, and social mobilization can provide a promising pathway toward transformation, liberation and healing for individuals, settings, communities and societies. Hope serves as Vice President for the International Union for Health Promotion and Education's (IUHPE) North American Region, Faculty Mentor to the IUHPE's Student and Early Career Network, and as Deputy Editor-in Chief to Health Promotion International.

Mariana Sanmartino (PhD in Education Sciences) is a biologist and a specialist in Social Sciences and Health and in Epistemologies of the South. She works as a researcher for the National Board of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) in the Grupo de Didáctica de las Ciencias in La Plata, Argentina. She is the founder and coordinator of the group ¿De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de Chagas? (What do we speak about when we speak about Chagas?), whose main objective is to promote an understanding of Chagas disease from an integrated and innovative perspective, linking multiple voices, diverse artistic expressions and unconventional scenarios. The guiding thread of her career is the search for elements that make it possible to understand the problem of Chagas from an integral perspective highlighting the role of education and communication as key tools to address this complex and current issue. Mariana is Member of the AdvisoryBoard of the International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease (FINDECHAGAS), and serves as part of the Technical Group No.6 on Information, Education and Communication (TG6-IEC Chagas) of the WHO Chagas disease control program.

Emily Alden Hennessy (PhD in Community Research and Action) is a research assistant professor in the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention and Policy at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Her scholarship focuses on adolescent and emerging adult health and development, with a focus on problematic substance use and recovery. In this work she combines developmental and ecological perspectives to address programs and settings for youth health, such as families and schools. Her work also involves various qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, and includes developing best practices for evidence syntheses. She is an associate methods editor for the International Coordinating Groupof the Campbell Collaboration.

Helga Bjørnøy Urke (PhD in Child Health Promotion) is associate professor in Health Promotion and affiliated with the Master’s program Global Development: Theory and Practice, which includes a specialization in Health Promotion for Development. Her scholarship focuses on early child care, and child and adolescent mental, physical and social health and development. The socioecological and resource perspective dominates in her work, with particular emphasis on the family, school and community as important health promoting settings. 

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