Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Arts, Society and Public Health

This project is exploring the impact of arts and cultural engagement on health and wellbeing at a population level, using UCL cohort data including ELSA and the British Birth Cohort studies. Specifically the project, is examining the effects of (i) cultural engagement (e.g. attending concerts/museums/galleries/cinemas/theatre); (ii) active arts participation (e.g. music/dance/crafts/drama); (iii) passive arts consumption (e.g. music listening/watching TV/reading) on:

  • Diagnosed mental health conditions, self-reported mental health and wellbeing
  • Diagnosed physical health conditions, self-reported health and somatic symptoms (such as pain)
  • Physiological measures (e.g. stress hormones/inflammation/lung function/cardiovascular measures)
  • Cognitive measures (e.g. memory/mood/reasoning)
  • Psychosocial measures (e.g. self-esteem/social support/quality of life/life satisfaction)

The project is supported by a steering group of representatives from Public Health England, Public Health Wales, NHS Health Scotland, the Royal Society for Public Health, the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, Creative Scotland, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

This study is funded through a Wellcome Fellowship awarded to Daisy Fancourt.

Principal Investigator: Dr Daisy Fancourt

Contact: Dr Daisy Fancourt

Collaborators: Professor Andrew Steptoe, Professor Helen Chatterjee