The National Endowment for the Arts guide to community-engaged research in the arts and health

This guide from the US outlines ways to reconcile the field-specific vocabularies used in arts and in health research; identifies study goals and methods for engaging community members as equal partners in a research project; and highlights the benefits of partnering for arts professionals and researchers.


Responding to a need identified by the federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development, the NEA commissioned this guide from the cognitive neuroscientist Julene Johnson, PhD, UCSF, and the arts consultant Jeff Chapline, New Art Horizons.

It advises arts practitioners and biomedical or behavioral health researchers how to partner effectively in documenting and studying the contributions of community-based arts programs to positive health outcomes.

The guide itself is a blueprint for collaboration, among academic researchers and arts-in-health practitioners, and among both these groups and the larger communities they serve.

This guide is intended equally to serve arts professionals and biomedical or behavioral researchers. Here, the term “arts professional” is broadly defined to include practicing community visual and performing artists, arts administrators, designers, and arts therapists, plus their associated organisations and community collaborators.

What Does This Guide Offer?

This guide contains the following chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Research into the Arts and Health
  3. Partnerships between Researchers and Arts Professionals
  4. For Arts Professionals: Are You Research-Ready? (A Primer)
  5. Developing an Arts-and-Health Research Study
  6. Funding
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