Go to main content Go to search
Page updated 2.4.2024
Arts, Health and Well-being

Arts, Health and Well-being

Arts and culture can improve our health and well-being in many ways. Turku University of Applied Sciences promotes the significance of art as part of a good life throughout the whole life course.

The research group Arts, Health and Well-being is a multidisciplinary group of experts and educators who work at The Arts Academy and at The Faculty of Health and Well-being at Turku UAS. The Arts Academy at Turku UAS provides wide range of Bachelor of Arts programmes in the field of arts and media: Fine Arts, Journalism, Media Arts, Music and Performing Arts. The Arts Academy has also several Master’s Degree Programmes such as Creative Well-being and Contemporary Contexts of Arts. 

The Faculty of Health and Well-being educates future professionals to work in the field of health care and social services in both Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree levels (for example: emergency care, midwifery, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, public health nursing and social services).

The goal of the research group Arts, Health and Well-being is to develop education in the field of arts, health and well-being as well as strengthen contents, methods and good practices created in multiprofessional collaboration between professional artists, health care and social workers. The research group has participated in several projects aimed at improving the well-being of people in several target groups through means of art and culture.

For example, students of Social Services and Performing Arts have worked several years together with practical nursing students and teachers using art-based methods and community art. Another long line of development work is to support the use of music in hospital and health care services.

Arts, health and well-being is seen as a nationally important and fast developing field of expertise in Finland. Turku UAS is a significant development partner in this field both in the Southwest Finland, nationally and in the Nordic Countries.  The research group Art, Health and Well-being is open to new partnerships and initiatives concerning the development work in the field.

Since 2015 the research group has been administrating the national Arts & Health Coordination Centre Taikusydän. Taikusydän is a multisectoral coordination and communication centre for activities and research among the field of arts, culture and wellbeing in Finland. Find out more about Taikusydän: https://taikusydan.turkuamk.fi/en/

In 2019, the research group launched together with several Nordic partners a new open access journal, The Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health. The journal provides a platform for publication and debate in the interdisciplinary field of arts and culture in healthcare and health promotion. The purpose of the journal is to contribute to dissemination of research, knowledge and practice experience in the arts, culture and health field. Find out more about the journal: https://nordicartshealth.turkuamk.fi/nordic-journal-of-arts-culture-and-health/


Master’s Degree Programme in Creative Well-being (60/90 ECTS)

The interprofessional Master’s Degree Programme in Creative Well-being was launched in January 2020. It is a joint programme run by two faculties: Arts Academy and Health and Well-being. The programme is aimed to professionals from the arts and culture sector and social and health care workers who have already at least for two years professional experience in their own field and a bachelor’s degree. Approximately half of the students come from the culture and arts sector and another half from the social and health care sector. They study together for 1,5-2 two years (60-90 ECTS) to become professionals in creative well-being.

The programme provides social, arts and health professionals with skills to develop the future working life using and widening their own professional core competencies and networks. The programme leads to a master’s degree, which corresponds to a master’s degree at university level and gives the same qualification, for example, to public posts.

The Structure of the Creative Well-being Master’s Degree Programme

First year:

I Core Competence:

1. Planning for the Future:
Future Operating Environments, 5 ECTS
The Process of Professional Growth as a Professional of Creative Well-being, 5 ECTS (continues throughout the studies)

2. Creative Well-being:
Creative Well-being as a Competence, 5 ECTS
Contexts of Creative Well-being, 5 ECTS

3. Arts-based methods (for social and health care students only)
Arts-based Methods 1, 5 ECTS
Arts-based Methods 2, 5 ECTS

II Master’s Thesis:
Development Work Methods and Design 5 ECTS
Implementation and Reporting of the Development Project 25 ECTS (continues in the second year of studies)

Second year:

I Core Competence:

4. Possibilities of Creative Well-being (for social- and health care students only)
Creative Well-being for Different Customer Groups, 5 ECTS
Culture and Arts in Improving Mental Health and Well-being, 5 ECTS

II Master’s Thesis:
Implementation and reporting of the development project 25 ECTS

According to the student’s own schedule during first or/and second year:

III Complementary Competence:
Optional studies 10-20 ECTS


Education for Community Musicians in Hospital and Care Settings

Specialist Training for Musicians in Hospitals and Care Settings (30 ECTS) took place during 2023-2024 for 15 musicians. It was a continuation of the Expert Training for Community Musicians (2017-2018 & 2018-2019), which was targeted to experienced musicians who are interested to develop their practice in hospital and health care settings. The education was arranged together with two other Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland and it’s educational level was Master EQF 6-7. 

This unique education attracted 20 musicians from all over the country to specialize to work as musicians in hospitals and care environments, most commonly in elderly care. The education consisted of three study modules: Community Musician in Society (5 ECTS), Advanced Studies (15 ECTS) and Development Project (10 ECTS). The Advanced Studies consisted of three courses like Facilitating Participatory Music Activities and Group Processes, Enhancing Creativity in Group Activities and Music Creating Well-being in Communities. The education was partly financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. 

“This was a very concrete programme, immersed the work of Musician in Hospitals. I feel that I learned very much about the work of hospital musicians.” – participant of the education

”This education was a very many-sided entirety. Practical work in hospitals and hospice was immensely important and educational for me. Through the studies my opportunities of employment and network became wider.” – participant of the education

Arts, Health and Well-being projects at Turku UAS

Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sea Region (2023-2025) -project helps public authorities, cultural and health institutions engage people with mental health challenges in social and non-therapy art activities to improve their mental well-being. The partners of the will jointly develop a model programme that is based on state-of-the-art evidence and experience, but adaptable to different local conditions and public health systems. 

Read more: https://interreg-baltic.eu/project/arts-on-prescription/

Taikusydän - Arts and Health Coordination Centre in Finland (2015-) is a multisectoral coordination and communication centre for activities and research among the field of arts, culture and well-being in Finland. 

Read more: https://taikusydan.turkuamk.fi/en/  

In the Erasmus+ funded ARTHEWE - Multiform Pedagogy in Arts, Health and Well-being Education -project (2020-2023), five European Higher Education Institutions developed higher education related to the field of arts and health. In each partner organization, the project developed, in cooperation between the partners, study modules related to either social and health sector, well-being and health promotion or arts and culture curricula, joint degrees in these fields or other study modules.

Read more: https://arthewe.turkuamk.fi/

The Nordic Arts & Health Research Network (NAHRN) was established in 2019 to strengthen Nordic cooperation in the field. The multidisciplinary network aims to increase interaction between researchers, artists and other actors in the field of creative well-being and to act as a forum for discussion and cooperation. 

Nordic cooperation has been developed through two projects funded by Nordic Culture Point: The Nordic Arts & Health Research Network project 2019-2020 (short-term network support) and the Nordic Arts & Health Research Networks project 2021-2023 (long-term network support).

Read more: https://nordicartshealth.turkuamk.fi/

Development task of hospital and health care music at TUAS

The Arts, Health and Well-being research group studies, develops and promotes the applied use of art in different well-being contexts. The projects implemented in the development task of hospital and health care music work have built operational models and prerequisites for regular and continuous musical work in treatment and health care environments. The aim has been to profile the operations as a new type of job description for music professionals and as an effective part of nursing. Musical operations at different facilities are not simply meant to entertain; they have other, strong effects on the well-being of both the patients/residents and also the staff and families. This is realised in multiprofessional co-operation where music professionals can act on the basis of their basic task as a musician or a musical pedagogue.

Music professionals, educational experts and professionals in the treatment and health care industry have been involved in the development work. The educational piloting and international co-operation have been an essential part of the operations. Musical work in hospitals and health care is seen as an excellent part of multiprofessional co-operation in different operating environments.

The music and well-being section of the project focused on the development of correspondence between musical training and working life in the Musicare network, funded by the European Social Fund and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland, piloted systematic and continuous musical operations at the Turku University Hospital Pediatric Clinic and the residential home Kotikunnas. In the Music in Health Settings: training trainers project funded by Leonardo Transfer of Innovation, Institute de Musique et Santé in Paris collaborated with music professionals from Turku, Dublin and Manchester, training the educators of the industry. The ERDF-funded Care Music project, in turn, focused on musical work in hospitals and health care as a profession in co-operation with Lahti University of Applied Sciences and Sibelius Academy. In this project, musical work was implemented and analysed in a hospital and in residential homes. In addition, the organisation of the work and the earning was modelled and the educational path of musical workers was constructed.

Musical work in hospitals and health care covers not only music brought to patients, customers and residents in different operating environments by music professionals but also the personal relationship of hospital and health care personnel with music and encouraging the opportunities it presents. Supplementary training can be offered to hospital and health care industry personnel to enhance and strengthen their relationship with music: to see the opportunities of music and, for instance, to utilise singing in their work. Musically training personnel can have its influence on the occupational well-being of the entire health care community, the atmosphere of a hospital ward, the calmness of the customers and work stress.


Picture: TUAS/Kristiina Välimäki