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Palgrave Macmillan

When Was Arts in Health?

A History of the Present

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Critically appraises the field of Arts in Health in the light of the recent public health crisis
  • Investigates the development of arts in healthcare as a growing social, economic and political phenomena
  • Written by a practitioner and researcher actively engaged in producing and curating art in health settings

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Table of contents (5 chapters)


About this book

This book critically appraises the field of Arts in Health in the light of the recent public health crisis and so-called culture wars. A new term was coined in Britain in 2017 for this area of work by an All-Party Parliamentary Group: “creative health”. Williams sets this hopeful assertion against a darker backdrop of austerity, rising inequality and “Covid-nationalism”. Understandings of the field as a (multi)national phenomenon are examined through contested narratives that surround its origin. Using genealogical methods, Williams shows how at supra, national and local policy levels, Arts in Health is presented as an idea that transcends place and time. Arguing against this premise, post-war decades are examined to reveal hidden, mutable arts-health expressions. Examples of practice, and their recognition as such, are context dependent it is concluded – produced by political economies as well as oppositional social movements.  

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glyndwr University, Wrexham, UK

    Frances Williams

About the author

Dr Frances Williams gained a doctoral scholarship at Manchester Metropolitan University where she studied Arts in Health in relation to devolution (2016-2019). She brings long experience of working in this field as education manager and curator, teaching MA (Arts in Health) at Glyndwr University where she is Honorary Research Fellow.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: When Was Arts in Health?

  • Book Subtitle: A History of the Present

  • Authors: Frances Williams

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-19-3616-6Published: 20 March 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-19-3617-3Published: 19 March 2023

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 154

  • Number of Illustrations: 3 b/w illustrations, 7 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Sociology, general, Digital Humanities, Medical Sociology, Arts

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