The RSPH’s Health & Wellbeing Awards is the UK’s premier scheme for promoting health and wellbeing. The Awards recognise and celebrate a wide range of activities, policies and strategies that empower communities and individuals, improve the population’s health, and address the wider social determinants of health.
Following its nomination in July, the CPS was announced as the winner of the Arts & Health Award 2016 at a ceremony held at the Royal College of Surgeons on 27 October. The judges commented: ‘The Royal College of Music’s wide-ranging programme of work, in health care across the UK, has addressed significant public health issues related to mental health, physical health and dementia through innovative projects evaluated to the highest scientific standards.’
The CPS takes a strongly interdisciplinary approach to investigating the impact of the arts on health and wellbeing, accessing world-leading expertise and state-of-the-art facilities across the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London. The CPS has set a ‘Grand Challenge’ in Music, Health and Wellbeing: an ambitious programme of work, running since 2010, that has rigorously explored how active engagement with the arts can support and enhance mental and physical health in community and NHS settings. It has been implemented through multiple projects focusing on key health challenges that involve developing, testing and spinning out successful interventions in the UK and abroad. The programme of work has won over £1.7 million in competitive research funding, involved collaboration with over 100 hospitals, recruited over 3,000 NHS patients and published over 20 peer-reviewed publications and around 200 features in print and broadcast media.
Professor Aaron Williamon, Director of the Centre for Performance Science, says: ‘Understanding the impact of the arts on health and wellbeing is a central aim of our work in the Centre for Performance Science, and I am thrilled that this work has been recognised by the Royal Society for Public Health. Music plays numerous, important roles in people’s lives, and through our research, we are now seeing that it can bring tangible benefits both for both physical and mental health.’
The RSPH’s Arts & Health Award recognises organisations that carry out evidence-based research into the impact of the arts on health and wellbeing, as well as delivering high quality programmes in hospitals for the benefits of patients, families and staff. Applicants have to demonstrate how their programmes and research meet key needs and tackle tangible problems within the healthcare system, develop strong partnerships with hospitals, involve patients and staff in the planning of interventions, and are sensitive to issues of cultural diversity and social inclusion.
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, said: “The RSPH Awards is a major highlight of the public health calendar, and this year the event is bigger and better than ever. It is a great morale booster for the public health community to be able to come together in this way, celebrate best practice and share innovation. RSPH congratulates all of the organisations who have been shortlisted or won awards, all of whom have come through against stiff competition and are trailblazers and exemplars in their field.”
Professor Colin Lawson CBE, Director of the Royal College of Music, says: ‘This award is a testament to the world leading research activity of the Centre for Performance Science and recognises the powerful impact of its work on today’s society. The CPS’s exploration of how the arts can transform lives is absolutely core to the Royal College of Music’s mission to engage the widest possible community in the power of music, and I am delighted that its efforts have been rewarded by the Royal Society for Public Health.’