Call for papers for the 1st “Art and aesthetics in health and wellness” Conference, 15-16 May 2021

Keynote Speaker: TBA

Abstract Due Date: Sunday 16 April 2021


This conference brings together academics, therapists, colour theorists, psychologists, artists and other practitioners from a wide variety of fields, for a collaborative, multidisciplinary exploration of the arts and aesthetics in healthcare contexts.  Abstracts are peer-reviewed. Themes and issues for the conference include, but are not limited to:


Stream A          Music, art, and drama in therapy and healing

Music, art, video, dance, movement, theater, and music have long been used in therapy, to manage depression, elicit memories, relieve suffering, provide meaning and return patients to wellbeing and positive coping. Theoretical approaches and studies of the therapeutic impacts of art range from cognitive-behavioral and developmental, through narrative and humanistic, to neuropsychological. Specialist applications include depression and anxiety management, trauma relief, interventions with abused, addicted, autistic children and teens,  psychological assessment and forensic applications, couple and family therapy, and clinical applications with cancer, control of movement disorders and psychomotor skill and development, pain control, PTSD, schizophrenia, dementia, palliative care. We welcome papers using these and other approaches, and exploring these or any other aspect of the arts in healthcare, therapeutic or wellness situations and applications.


Stream B          Colour, form and spatiality in therapy and healing

Health and wellbeing are complex somatic and psychological states with subjective, cultural, aesthetic, perceptual, neurobiological and social dimensions. Because people are profoundly impacted by their physical and visual surroundings, notions of therapeutic landscapes have been around for many decades. What theories have been developed to model aesthetic-therapeutic interactions? Salutogenic built spaces? How do light, colour, architectural form, physical materials, water, spatiality and similar elements impact healthcare professionals working in hospitals and clinics, and patients visiting and using them? How are aesthetic elements cognitively processed, how do they impacts our emotions and psychology? What medical conditions impact human responses to design elements? What are the cultural variants of design principles? What aesthetic guidelines and policies may be articulated for healthcare contexts, and ho may they be reflected in policy, as well as in organisational and management practices?


Stream C          The arts and health in global contexts

In many cultures, there are historically deep and culturally rich connections between the arts and the practitioners and techniques of health and healing. These traditions persist, sometimes in classic, and in other cases in contemporary forms, in many countries, and across many cultures. What historical, legal, cultural, religious and social assumptions underlie traditional practices in the intersection between the arts and medicine and/or therapies, round the world today? How have medicine, medical practitioners, therapy, illness and healing been depicted in historical documents, art history, literature and other cultural resources? How have these ideas reflected and connected to religious beliefs and practices? How have they evolved over time, and how do they connect with scientific medicine in the contemporary world?


Stream D          Data analytics, art and aesthetics

In order to explore aesthetic responses in healthcare situations, we are soliciting research cooperation from healthcare practitioners of all kinds, psychologists, social scientists, and others. These papers use data from recorded patient-practitioner interactions, and structured interview questions, and evaluate this data with content analysis software. Conference participants interested in cooperating with this effort will publish papers in a journal special issue with HEDRA advisory board members.  If you are interested in this, please click here.


The conference welcomes abstracts from academics and researchers working in psychology, medical and healthcare practitioners, as well as people working in social sciences and business, and other fields. We also welcome experience narratives, case studies, and situation reports from members of the public, people working in any related field, and specialists. You can find more information on this here. Participants will be able to watch a plenary session, and participate in a live-stream roundtable, and a conference roundtable discussions.


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