Thinking Thoughts: waiting room words

Filed : ARTS & HEALTH, In Hospitals, Local and industry news .

A book from the Health Arts Action Leadership Project offers people in health waiting rooms a gentle means to think of something different – about the creative arts in our lives and in the lives of others.

‘Thinking Thoughts’ has been produced by The Institute for Creative Health. Arts OutWest’s arts and health coordinator Christine McMillan, as part of the Health Arts Action Leadership Project team, worked on this book.

It has now been distributed to hospital waiting rooms around the region. If you need a copy for your waiting room please contact Arts OutWest. You can also download it here

In addition, at ArtState Bathurst in November 2018 the words were displayed on a LED sign in Machettie Park ‘Sculpture walk’.


‘Around the world we are coming to realise what Indigenous and First Nations peoples have  long known: the creative arts are crucially important for our health and wellbeing. Today we have extensive  evidence for how, in hospitals, the arts can help patients cope with serious illness, use less pain medication, stay fewer days in hospital, and rehabilitate much faster; how creative activity is often key to healing from trauma and mental illness; how the arts offer us pathways to death and through grief; how they bring communities together, preventing illness and keeping those with dementia and chronic ill health active, involved and flourishing
for as long as possible.

‘The Institute for Creative Health (ICH) is a national peak advocacy organisation that works to give all Australians more access to the creative arts, to support their health. In 2013 the ICH assisted both the Federal and State Health and Arts Ministers to endorse The National Arts and Health Framework, which stated that the Arts contribute to the health and wellbeing of Australian individuals and communities. This provides an ongoing policy commitment to including the Arts as a core component in supporting and improving the health
of all Australians.

‘To further this momentum, the ICH designed the Health Arts Action Leadership Project (HAALP)
2017, which established Leadership Groups in Arts and Health in each state, who could undertake advocacy and lead efforts to consolidate principles and best practices in the sector.

The project was funded by the Australian Government, through Catalyst – Australian Arts and Culture Fund.

The Book

‘This book offers people in waiting rooms, people waiting while seeking healthcare, a gentle means to think of something different – about the creative arts in our lives and in the lives of others. What the arts can be and what they have offered us. A glimpse of a past and of a future. Our selves, reflected and – or – different. Many different people have offered their thoughts
here. Each entry is a small reaching out to connect with you, the Reader, who they do not know.
We asked each contributor to.

‘Take a moment to think about your first personal experience that made you realise art and culture had some impact on your life’

‘These contributions come from individuals and groups; they come from across the state, from rural and remote communities, to the inner city; they include community groups, service providers and university populations; they include all ages and walks of life.
We included children: from a year 5 class from an inner city school. We helped them a little more. We asked them ‘What do you think the arts are, identify an art form you really enjoy, what are your feelings when you are doing art and what does the world gain from having the arts?’.

‘All contributors could use any written form they liked. Importantly, we trusted them to come with their own voices and as such have allowed their idiosyncratic grammar and syntax in the editing.’

At Art State, Bathurst in November 2018 the words were displayed on a LED sign in Machettie Park ‘Sculpture walk’.

Upcoming Events

Sat 18

Kew-Y-Ahn Aboriginal Art Gallery

Tue 1 January 2019, - Thu 31 December 2020,
Sat 18

Totally Trundle Exhibition

Wed 6 November 2019, - Mon 3 February 2020,