I had the amazing opportunity to join the 3rd annual Arts in Health Research Intensive, presented by University of Florida’s (UF) Center for Arts in Medicine and the UK Arts Health Early Career Research Network (ECRN), from January 27 to 31, 2020. The Arts in Health Research Intensive is a five-day residential program that provides an introduction to the evaluation of arts and health research. This year, 40 advocates from eight different countries (USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Korea, Nigeria and Zimbabwe) gathered for a shared learning experience.
I was excited to attend this intensive on behalf of Snow City Arts and thrilled to meet so many leading figures in the field of arts in health. I met Jill Sonke, the Director of the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, whose work helped me clarify my understanding of all the facets of the arts and health field while I was undertaking my PhD degree. I also met Daisy Fancourt, one of the authors of What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review (2019), a comprehensive quantitative analysis of the arts in health and the most ever downloaded WHO publication. She is also the director of Arts Health Early Career Research Network (ECRN). As a researcher and member of the ECRN, I looked forward to meeting them both.
The intensive was aimed at providing participants with a comprehensive and in depth look at the interdisciplinary field of arts in health. Under the guidance of Jill and Daisy, we covered all types of topics such as qualitative and quantitative research methods. We began and ended each day with a creative arts activity, led by UF artists in residency, to activate/relax our minds and bodies. This meant that we received the health benefits of the arts every day! We were also able to dedicate some time to our own research design, applying what we had just learned to our own projects. We were able to share ideas about our own work and gain insights from each other. The five-day program ended with us giving presentations about our own projects to the group.
It was a week filled with appreciation of and applause for everyone working in the field of arts and/in/for health. We had passionate discussions during the day and spent our time in conversation with peers over leisurely dinners. It was an honor to be a part of this unique program, and I feel honored to have met these incredible people. I thank the Intensive team for creating such a great opportunity, and I also appreciate Snow City Arts’ support that allowed me to attend the event.
-Nakyung Rhee, Snow City Arts Administrative Assistant/Research Specialist