“With a growing body of evidence that participating in and enjoying the arts can help people cope, exercise their agency, develop their abilities, build community and bring moments of joy, our vision is to lead a Healing Arts revolution that improves the physical, mental and social wellbeing of millions of people worldwide.”
Art & Health Lead, WHO
Christopher Bailey is the Arts and Health Lead at the World Health Organization. His Healing Arts Initiative which he co-founded, is looking at the evidence base for the health benefits of the arts by building up a global network of research centers to look at effective practice as well as the foundational science of why the arts may benefit physical, mental and social wellbeing. The emphasis of the program is supporting underserved communities around the world. The program also engages with the global media to promote pro health messaging and build solidarity on health issues through all media. Educated at Columbia and Oxford Universities as well as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, after a career as a professional actor and playwright, Bailey joined the Rockefeller Foundation as their Research Manager, and from there was recruited to WHO where he lead the Health Informatics work and later their on-line communications team before starting the Arts and Health program. As an ambassador for the field, Bailey has also performed original pieces such as Stage 4: Global Stories on Empathy and Health, and The Vanishing Point: A journey into Blindness and Perception, in venues around the world from the Hamwe Festival in Rwanda, to the Wellcome Collection in London, to the World Bank in DC, as well as Lincoln Center in NY, the LA Opera, LACMA, and Warner Bros Studios in LA, and the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco among many others. The basic message of his work is to amplify the WHO definition of health which states that health is not merely the absence of disease and infirmity, but the attainment of the highest level of physical, mental and social wellbeing.