Arts and Culture

Art for better health

The New South Wales Arts and Health Framework has been developed to strengthen the role of local health services and arts agencies to better identify and develop projects to improve health outcomes. Following on from this, South Western Sydney Local Health District has developed a Health and Arts Strategic Plan  

It is our belief that arts and creativity move minds, bodies and spirits towards sustaining healthy lives. It is our determination that the use of the arts in health environments in south western Sydney becomes a robust and accessible element of healing programs; for people living with illness and disability and for the communities and individuals that care for them. (Health and Arts Strategic Plan)


  • The use of arts in health has a number of positive effects including reductions in medication dependence, patient tolerance of symptoms and treatment, hospital length of stay and treatment stress
  • The use of art also fosters social inclusion, community participation, and intergenerational and cultural exchange, with important outcomes for Aboriginal people, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, young people, older people and people with disability.
  • Art also has positive effects for staff, with improvements in health professionals’ communication skills, reductions in work-related stress, and greater efficiency and workforce retention.
  • Partnerships between health services and arts organisations and artists also delivers better outcomes for patients, carers, staff and health services, and strengthens relationships with the broader community.

What we are doing

Art is an important component of the Campbelltown Hospital redevelopment as it will inform the overall look and feel of the building while providing new opportunities for therapeutic programmes for the Macarthur community.
The Campbelltown Hospital Redevelopment team has formed a strategic partnership with the Campbelltown Arts Centre to develop arts programs and strategies for the new build and beyond. A working group has been established to create new ideas for integration of arts in health, with representation from across the hospital and the community.

The Project

The aim of the collaboration between Campbelltown Hospital and Campbelltown Arts Centre is to place community, culture and creativity at the heart of the stage two redevelopment of Campbelltown Hospital. Artists have been invited into this capital program to bring new ideas that will inform the design of the new hospital. Two artists have been commissioned to date on the project:

Erica Seccombe, is an artist who has found growing evidence through academic empirical studies that by incorporating nature into a hospital environment, these places of reflection or interaction, can enhance the healing process. Nature, or the sense of being in contact with nature, can relieve some of the stress and unease that comes with a hospital experience. Working collaboratively with a range of community and health interest groups and stakeholders Erica will develop a series of responses which consider ideas of intervention and create experiences of nature to support a feeling of well-being throughout the hospital.

Drawing from Nature workshops led by artist, Erica Seccombe, were held in August 2019, enhancing the engagement and inclusion of both staff and the community in the hospital redevelopment process. Image credit: Nancy Trieu

Nicole Monks, an artist of Yamaji Wajarri, Dutch and English heritage, is working with the local Aboriginal community to development creative outcomes within the built environment of Campbelltown Hospital. Nicole is being mentored by local Aboriginal elders and working collaboratively with the local Aboriginal community to ensure cultural protocols and practices are followed. The outcomes of this deep engagement will result in the presentation of multi-dimensional narratives centering on Dharawal culture.

Embedding Culture workshops led by artist Nicole Monks and assisted by Danielle Mate-Sullivan and Aunty Jenny Shillingsworth were held in September 2019, as part of a creative consultation process to articulate ways to embed Dharawal culture into the new hospital. Image credit: Nancy Trieu

The use of the arts to improve the health of individuals or communities, as well as health facility design, has a long history here and internationally, but has become increasingly important in recent years. A growing body of peer-reviewed evidence confirms significant and measurable benefits from the integration of health and the arts. (Arts and Health Framework)

How to get involved

The Campbelltown Hospital Redevelopment team welcomes all feedback and suggestions for further artistic opportunities and integrations for the new hospital.
Please contact us at if you would more information about the arts and culture program or to see how you can make your mark to the look and feel of the new hospital.