Arts and Health: A New Paradigm


  • Hilary Moss Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland



Arts therapies, arts and health, healthcare, theoretical paradigm


This position paper presents a new paradigm about the intrinsic structure and nature of arts and health practice. This paradigm is based on a variety of research experiences over twenty years working as a music therapist, musician, music and health practitioner, researcher and director of an arts and health programme in university teaching hospitals, community contexts, and non-governmental organizations in Ireland and the UK.

The aim of this paper is to propose a new perspective on the term arts and health, to encompass all arts related activity that exists in contexts related to health. This paradigm aims to counter the artificial and defensive barriers constructed between practitioners and professional groups within the field, encourage greater respect and understanding between practitioners and assist in identifying training and development needs for the various arts professionals working in contexts related to health and well-being. It is proposed that the current commonly held assumptions surrounding definitions of arts and health and arts therapies are unhelpful and problematic and should be refined.

Author Biography

Hilary Moss, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland

Hilary Moss is Senior Lecturer in Music Therapy at the World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland and until recently the Director of the National Centre for Arts and Health, Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.She completed her PhD in 2014 on aesthetic deprivation and the role of the arts for older people in hospital at Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine under the supervision of Prof Desmond O’Neill.  She is a musician and Music Therapist and has an MBA in Health Service Management. Her research interests include arts therapies, arts and health, health humanities and inter-disciplinary research.Her model of providing weekly art sessions for patients in the renal dialysis unit at Tallaght Hospital, facilitated by professional artists, reached the final of the Health Service Innovation Awards 2005. 


Additional Files



How to Cite

Moss, H. (2016). Arts and Health: A New Paradigm. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 16(3).



Position Papers