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Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center Academic Conference Program Funds Healing Arts Summit

Innovations in Arts and Health

The global COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled a “mirror pandemic” in the mental health crisis taking place throughout the world. To help address the need for solutions, the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership is awarding its inaugural Academic Conference Funding to a “Innovations in Arts and Health,” collaborative proposal between the McGovern College of the Arts and the College of Medicine at the University of Houston.

The EDR Center Conference Funding program awards $25,000 annually to University of Houston individuals, departments or colleges to sponsor academic conferences on ethics or leadership related topics leading to the publication of articles or books.

This year’s winning proposal highlights Houston’s role as a leader in collaborations at the intersection of the arts and health, with an emphasis on mental and community health. Partnering with the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and London‐based Culturunners’ Healing Arts Initiative, the Colleges of Arts and Medicine will hold a summit in Houston, from September 8–10, 2022 to examine the underexplored overlap between health and creativity. The summit will include presentations by scholars and practitioners, expert panels, practicing physicians and artists working at the forefront of arts and health. The summit will be the culminating event in a series of similar proceedings initiated by the W.H.O. and Culturunners, occurring in London, Aspen, New York, Palm Beach, and Houston between March 2021 and January 2022.

The conference will result in an edited book collection of scholarly essays by conference contributors on themes such as the role of the humanities in medical education, creative art therapies, community art and health collaborations and art and professional development in the medical fields.

Conference organizers include: Dean Andrew Davis of the McGovern College of the Arts; Dean Stephen Spann of the College of Medicine; Fleurette Fernando, Director of the Arts Leadership Program at the McGovern College of the Arts; and Woods Nash, Assistant Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the College of Medicine.

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