Success factors for visual artists functioning as health promoters at a workplace: results from a Swedish case study

Åsa Bringsén, Sören Augustinsson, Ingemar Andersson, Göran Ejlertsson

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragPoster

8 Nedladdningar (Pure)



The interest in relations between arts and workplace related health has increased. The focus has mostly been on the work of arts and health from a disease perspective and to the best of our knowledge the research focusing on relation between the artists and workplace related health from a salutogenic perspective is rare. In 2007 a project called the Contemporary Artists in Contemporary Society (CACS) Scania project was implemented and evaluated. The project consisted of twelve visual artists being positioned at eight workplaces on half time for a period of six months. The idea of the project was that unprejudiced meetings between the artists and the staff could result in workplace related health promoting processes. This study will try to unravel some of the mystery of how artists’ presence can result in workplace related promotion of health. 



The aim was to identify success factors for visual artists functioning as health promoters at a workplace.



The search for success criterion started with going through the project descriptions and the evaluation reports from the CACS Scania project. This exposition led to the selection of one project that was considered a particularly successful case. Two artists had been placed at the office for management of regional development in Scania. The employees consisted mainly of civil servants and administrators. The evaluation material belonging to this particular project was studied, searching for possible explanations to the success of the project. The material consisted of digital recordings from a focus group interview with five of the participating staff, an interview with the manager, an interview with the two artists as well as stories written by the two artists throughout the project and finally the project description as well as the folder that the two artists produced as a summary of the project. The analysis of the material was influenced by qualitative content analysis and three categories of success factors were found.



The experience of the participating staff

The result showed that the staff mainly had had positive project related experiences. The staffs’ experiences could be linked to the salutogenic factors comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness. The various project related activities were found to be meaningful and the different activities were considered a pleasant reflective break from an everyday routine based and hectic practice. Some of the staff reported having problems managing the openness and indistinctiveness of the project, but the frequent communication with the artists, as well as support from the manager made the indistinctiveness manageable. The presence of the artists and the different project related activities were often found to be amusing, with adherent facilitation of wellbeing among the staff. At other occasions the presence of the artists could be considered disturbing. The artists brought new perspectives into the workplace that sometimes challenged the staffs’ customary way of thinking and acting, opening up possibilities for creativity and reflective processes of work related learning. It seemed as if the positive health related experiences of the staff relied on communication and mutual construction of intellectual fellowship and project related meaning (intersubjectivity).


A framework for the work of the artists

Four criteria were considered a useful framework for a description of the artists successful work at the workplace. 1. Presence - The artists were often present at the workplace. 2. Inspiration – The artists were inspired by the workplace. 3. Activity - The artists were constantly presenting things and activated the staff through out the project 4. Communication – The artists communicated with the staff during the development, implementation and completion process of the project.


Organisational climate

It seemed as if the organisational climate was suitable for using artists as health promoters. The staff and the manager were for instance describing them as willing to try new and innovative strategies for the development of their work in general and their work related health in particular.



To conclude there is a health promoting potential when involving artists as health promoters at a workplace. For this potential to be realised we found three categories of success factors. The experience of the participating staff were considered important since positive experiences, with adherent positive feelings, form the base for psychological and biological processes that generally have a positive impact on health. These experiences are on the other hand dependent on other facilitating factors, that here can be linked to for instance the artists as well as the organisational climate. 

StatusPublicerad - 2009
EvenemangWork, Stress and Health 2009: Global Concerns and Approaches -
Varaktighet: 1980-jan.-01 → …


KonferensWork, Stress and Health 2009: Global Concerns and Approaches
Period80-01-01 → …

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi (30302)


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