Abstract arts, red, blue and pink splatter

Programme of Work

HARP - an arts and health programme

Launched in 2019 in partnership with Arts Council of Wales, our Arts and Health programme, HARP, aims to increase our understanding of how the arts can play a more prominent role in people’s wellbeing in Wales.


What is HARP?

HARP - Health, Arts, Research, People - is an innovation and research partnership between Arts Council of Wales and Y Lab (Cardiff University & Nesta), to explore how we can generate, grow and learn about impactful creative innovations that support the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales.

HARP is about supporting innovation and learning.  In every part of the programme, we are aiming to learn more about how the arts can help health and care systems with their biggest challenges. In particular, we support projects that are interested in developing or sustaining high-quality arts activities that promote equality, diversity and inclusion and understanding more about how impact within health and care settings can grow and survive in the longer term. 


Image shows three older women sitting in a care home lounge wearing yellow feather boas and doing seated dance moves.
Participants in the Family Arts Roundabout project, part of the HARP Sprint, August 2020.


HARP has two strands; Seed and Nourish. Each strand aims to nurture and support health places and arts people and places to work together to find the best ways for arts and health to face the challenges set out above. As a learning programme, we are particularly interested in discovering how innovation through HARP can lead to:

  • More sustainable funding models for arts and health projects
  • Robust evidence of the impact of the arts on people and health / care systems
  • A shared understanding of the value of the arts between health and arts partners
  • A range of inclusive, high-quality arts projects for health
  • Clear pathways for people to access the arts

Who is involved?

We are working with Arts Council of Wales, Welsh NHS Confederation and Wales Arts, Health and Wellbeing Network to support innovation and learning for arts and health in Wales.

Evidence and learning

The impact of this programme on the patients, staff and systems involved will be studied by Research Fellow, Dr Sofia Vougioukalou. The findings will be used to inform future service development for arts and health far beyond the teams and organisations involved. We see this as a programme that will benefit the whole ecosystem of arts and health in Wales.


Image shows three lottery funding logos for Arts Council Wales, National Lottery and Welsh Government