The World Health Organization, the Center of Arts and Health at the University of Florida, the International Arts + Mind Lab: The Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University, among many others are Creating Healthy Communities 2022 collaborators. Those working at the intersections of public health, arts and culture, and community development, worked together to form the Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America initiative.

“The ultimate goal of this initiative is to guide future partnerships among public health practitioners and policymakers interested in how place-based arts and culture strategies might further their work… by outlining a framework for collaboration — lifting up collective trauma, racism, social exclusion and isolation, mental health, and chronic disease as all-hands-on-deck priorities. This framework transcends disciplinary boundaries and offers a path forward for truly comprehensive, human-centered work.”

One recent research study that included some knitters was focused on identifying creative activities that helped support mental health and well-being in relation to improvements in depression, anxiety, and life satisfaction. This particular study found that any amount of increased time spent doing a craft was associated with improvements in life satisfaction, while spending more than a half hour per day watching TV or similar media was associated with increases in depressive symptoms. Visit the study linked below to learn more about the measures used.

Creative leisure activities, mental health, and wellbeing during five months of the COVID-19 pandemic: A fixed effects analysis of data from 3,725 US adults (Bone, 2022)

This Covid-19 Social Study was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and supported by the MARCH Mental Health Network funded by the Cross-Disciplinary Mental Health Network Plus initiative supported by UK Research and Innovation. The EpiArts Lab, a US National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab at the University of Florida, is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Project Knitwell hopes to expand on research like this to build more connections between the soothing fiber arts and the health of our communities. Our Executive Director, Lauren Brennan, is currently participating in the Creating Healthy Communities Digital Badge program to learn directly how Project Knitwell can connect with these initiatives.