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.


In 2019, we set out to learn more about where innovation was needed to support arts and health in Wales.

Since then, we have held workshops and engaged with stakeholders from all over Wales to understand some of the barriers. We designed a programme for delivery with Health Boards which had to be rapidly adjusted and then postponed due to the pandemic;  We’ve supported four projects to design and test Covid-safe arts activities for people in lockdown through the HARP Sprint.

But, there’s more to do.



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 is about supporting innovation and learning.  Responding to the needs arising out of the pandemic, and recognising that innovation is taking place throughout the sector at the moment, we are aiming to learn more about how the arts can help health and care systems with their biggest challenges during Covid-19. We are particularly interested in;


  • supporting the health and care workforce; 
  • building the resilience of people with mental or physical health challenges; and/or
  • improving the health of marginalised, underrepresented or at-risk groups of people

Across all of those themes, we are looking for projects that are interested in developing or sustaining high-quality Covid-safe 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. 


Still from work by Sophie Stone - image shows a woman walking on a mud path with ferns either side. She is pointing forwards and text reads 'I see me over there'.
Still from 'Hiraeth' by Sophie Stone, commissioned by Conversations/Future Selves as part of HARP Sprint


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.

Who is the programme for?

HARP is for health places and arts people and places to come together to deliver arts and health activities and projects. Two strands are to support different stages;

  • Seed is for new ideas or projects to generate - or ‘seed’ - those initial great ideas and innovate at pace.
  • Nourish is aimed at existing arts and health innovations to provide support and funding so the can survive and become embedded in health places.

We are defining ‘health places’ as health boards or trusts, local authorities, social care settings and non-profit health organisations located in Wales.

We are defining ‘arts places’ as arts organisations and self-employed artists and freelancers located in Wales.

What funding and support is available through HARP?

Grants of £3,000 for Seed projects and up to £35,000 for Nourish projects are available. Between January and December 2021, there will be a tailored programme of support and facilitation which all projects will participate in. More information about the offer and commitment is available on the Seed and Nourish pages. This funding has been made possible by a £450,000 investment of Arts Council of Wales Lottery funding. 

How do we find out more?

Applications from health places are now closed. Applications from arts places are open until 11th January 2020.

More information about the Seed and Nourish strands is available on their dedicated pages.

You can also email [email protected] to talk to one of our programme team. 

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