Project Title: 

EpiArts Lab at the University of Florida

Funding detail: 
NEA Research Lab
University of Florida, Gainesville
Principal Investigator: 
Jill Sonke, PhD
Project summary: 

In partnership with the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program and the University College of London, the University of Florida's Center for Arts in Medicine will develop an "EpiArts" Lab to apply epidemiological research approaches to the arts. The Lab will plan and implement a long-term research agenda to explore the relationships between arts/cultural engagement and population health outcomes. Researchers will analyze several large-cohort, longitudinal, and publicly available datasets such as those sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics, and datasets from the Health and Retirement Study and the General Social Survey—both featuring arts and cultural survey items developed by the Arts Endowment. To the extent possible, research questions will consider how arts engagement uniquely contributes to health, above and beyond other types of non-arts engagement. The Lab initially will focus its review on the arts' relationships to mental health and well-being, health behaviors, and non-communicable diseases. Additional research may include targeted experimental studies. Products stemming from the Lab may include peer-review publications, conference presentations, webinars, and infographics to translate the Lab's results to the general public and to leaders in the arts/cultural and health sectors.

The research agenda aims to address the following research questions:

  • What are the social, emotional, physical, and/or physiological health benefits of participating in the arts for individuals, groups, or societies?
  • What physiological or psychological mechanisms or group dynamics are at work in achieving those benefits or related outcomes?
  • What kinds of art forms are invoked in these relationships, and at what levels of participation? d. How do these benefits or related outcomes vary by one's age, socioeconomic characteristics, other demographic and behavioral patterns, and/or by health or disability status?
Other Key Personnel: 
  • Daisy Fancourt, PhD