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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Arts in Health

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Why arts in health?

Healthcare systems are increasingly unable to keep up with the rising costs and complexity of treatment and care. Their traditional reliances upon technological innovation, high efficiency, and treatment-at-any-cost are driving health systems to the point of collapse. The very definitions of health, prevention, and well-being are being reconsidered by healthcare systems, and new approaches must be found to humanise healthcare for patients and staff, and to support disease prevention in our communities. The field of arts in health provides an innovative approach to supporting care, well-being, and to encourage healthy living.

What does arts in health do?

Over thirty years of scientific research shows how the arts are used to:

  • Improve the healthcare experience of patients, staff, and people in long-term care.
  • Help prevent compassion fatigue and burnout in health professionals.
  • Encourage healthy living and disease prevention at home and in the community.
  • Provide innovative approaches to care, and to educating healthcare professionals.

Arts in health professionals use painting, drawing, expressive movement, music, creative writing, indeed any artform, to augment care and support well-being in hospitals, long-term facilities, and communities.

Learning about arts in health

The summer school has two modes of learning: In lecture/discussions students are introduced to the field’s science, and then in hands-on workshops they experience the actual practice of arts in health. Our instructors include scholars, healthcare professionals, and experienced arts in health practitioners. Some preparatory background reading is required, and will be provided. The program will be of interest to people from fields as diverse as medicine, arts, long-term care, psychology, community health, spiritual care, ethics, and many others.

We welcome applications from current or prospective students. We also encourage working professionals to apply.

Practical information

17 - 21 June 2024
Groningen, the Netherlands

From BA, MA, PhD, Postdoc, Practitioners


€ 250

Please keep in mind that for credit card transactions, there is an additional €5 fee.

The fee includes lunch, tea, coffee Monday - Friday, welcome dinner and tour.
Travel and accommodation are not included in the above fees and are at the participants' own expenses.
Academic coordinators

Ferdinand Lewis and Kirsten Krans, Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health



Arts in health is a transdisciplinary field for students of health professions, arts, public administration, medical humanities, cultural policy, health policy, ethics, and spiritual care.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Course schedule

Monday - Friday from 9.30 - 17.00

Lecture and discussions

• Arts in health in hospitals

• Arts in health in long-term care

• Arts in health in the community

• Theoretical background and implications of the societal transitions in healthcare.

• Ethical issues in arts in health (Do no harm; privacy; care vs. cure).   

• The professions and sectors of arts in health; where the field is found, and how professions adapt it to their work.

• Professional distance; listening and attention; affect, transference and counter-transference.


Practical workshops

• Making safe space for participants 

• Finding and sharing your own inspiration; helping others find theirs.

• Self-care

• Making art with non-artists; making a safe space for participation.

• Operating in care environments; interacting with staff and caregivers

• Documenting your work

• Finding your way in the profession

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

  • How scientific evidence is used to support the practice of arts in health.
  • The organisational frameworks and institutions that support arts in health programs.
  • How the arts provide practical care for vulnerable people, and support illness prevention.
  • How artists activate creativity among non-artists.

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Please note that you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Motivation letter, clearly stating why you want to join this summer school, what you will bring to the school and what you hope to learn (max. 1 page)

We are no longer accepting applications.

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Last modified:29 April 2024 3.58 p.m.