​Arts programs can lift Indigenous health and wellbeing

The Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing has found that participating in arts programs has major benefits for people in Indigenous communities.

​Arts programs can lift Indigenous health and wellbeing

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These include improvements in health and wellbeing, cultural maintenance and transmission, countering boredom, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, increasing civic engagement and social inclusion, and economic development.

The Institute released a paper earlier this year that synthesised the findings from over 30 studies, covering all geographic areas from inner city to remote regions, and all age ranges from preschool children to the elderly. About two-thirds of the studies are Australian, with some international studies used to add depth.

It found that Indigenous participation in arts activities is relatively high. For example, a recent report for Arts Victoria noted that 31 per cent of Indigenous people in Victoria participated in some form of artistic activity.

These high participation rates mean that arts activities are an important part of Indigenous daily life.

It found that arts programs play an important role in the lives of Indigenous peoples because:

  • the arts have an integral role in maintaining and transmitting Indigenous culture and in maintaining links to country
  • they can help build a sense of purpose, hope and belonging in remote communities
  • they can act as a protective factor against substance abuse, self-harm and other negative behaviours.

Read about the activities AMPAG member companies undertake with Indigenous people and in Indigenous communities.

Read the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's report.

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