Released 23/12/2016

Who would have thought? Older people are finding hidden creative talents in aged care. Watch the remarkable ‘release of creativity’ as people find purpose, pleasure and fulfilment through their art with the encouragement and guidance of our Artists in the House. Forms of expression include dance, visual art, music, literature, humour and theatre.  The surprising 10-minute film was produced and broadcast by SBS Television’s ‘The Feed’. 

Released 23/12/2016

Music & Memory have been strengthening the bonds between staff, people receiving care, friends and family all year round.  Why not try it yourself?

Released 23/12/2016

You may have friends, family or colleagues who want to give to a good cause this Christmas so please consider the work of the Arts Health Institute. You can make a donation online by clicking here

Released 23/12/2016

The powerful effects of Music & Memory® are now being felt in close to 100 accredited health and aged care services around Australia.

Released 23/12/2016

It’s a hectic time of year with lots of festivities and holiday making. It can also be stressful we know, but please spare a thought for your friend or loved one who is living with dementia. The holiday period for them can be very lonely, so this is the perfect time to visit. To help you connect with the person you are visiting, we asked our creative director Jean-Paul Bell to offer his insights and advice. Take a read and enjoy your visit. You’ll be sure to really make someone’s day.

Released 6/10/2016

Dancer and choreographer, 101-year-old Eileen Kramer, has been announced as a winner in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2016. Eileen has been recognised in the arts/culture/sport category for her body of work and her contribution as an ambassador for the Arts Health Institute, using her own crowd-funding projects to help fund and train artists to work in aged care.

Released 5/10/2016

7 News Sydney Sunday 2 October 2017

Released 16/09/2016

When you have Artists in the House, all kinds of creative things can happen. Just ask the group who participated in Access to Express, led by visual artist and arts health practitioner Phil Donnison at Allity Aged Care, Greenwood in Sydney.

Released 5/07/2016

The innovative US developed Music & Memory program is being introduced into 21 NSW health services in an Australian-first pilot project.

Released 3/03/2016

Catalyst: Music on the Brain – The soundtrack of our lives
8pm, Tuesday March 8
on ABC

Released 6/01/2016

Mime and clowning are at the heart of a one-off weekend workshop for professionals, to be staged in Sydney this month.

Released 16/12/2015

Music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. When played to a person during an MRI scan, it lights up the whole brain.

Released 11/11/2015

Music, often regarded as the 'universal language', has the power to inspire, absorb, invigorate and deeply move us. Now it's being used to reawaken the memories of nursing home residents with dementia. Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis witness eyes lighting up and bodies starting to move.

Released 8/11/2015

Our relationship with music begins at birth, if not before, and plays a role in the formation of our identity when we are young.

Released 3/11/2015

Last year, a groundbreaking documentary on how music could be used to improve the quality-of-life for dementia patients brought us to tears. This year, the team behind the same Alive Inside documentary is here in Australia, and wants to introduce musical care into the Australian aged care system.

Released 2/11/2015

An overseas music therapy project that has had an “awakening” effect on dementia sufferers has launched in Australia.

Released 2/11/2015

Music has long been associated with producing endorphins but more recently it's been linked to helping dementia patients recover their memories. 

Released 1/11/2015

It’s cheap, easy, could provide relief to thousands of Australians coping with chronic conditions and almost all of us are carrying around one in our pocket or handbag.

The humble mobile phone, or rather the technology within it, is being credited with assisting people living with ailments ranging from dementia to Parkinson’s disease, even helping them “awaken” from Alzheimer’s.

Released 31/10/2015

Most days, New York social worker Dan Cohen gets to watch an awakening. 

A pair of headphones is placed over the ears of withdrawn and barely communicative Alzheimer's patient, and a button is pushed.

Released 1/10/2015

CEO of the Newcastle-based Arts Health Institute, Dr Maggie Haertsch, has been announced as a winner in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2015. Dr Haertsch has been recognised in the Social Enterprise and Not for Profit category for her contribution to delivering innovative, evidence-based approaches to health and aged care through the arts. 

Released 9/09/2015

Nick Ryan is the CEO of Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, here he talks about the future of aged care, what he thinks about Arts Health Institute, and what he hopes for his 90 year old self.

Released 13/03/2015

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of kind donors, incredible media support and overwhelming activity on social media sharing Eileen’s remarkable story, the crowd funding target of $26k target was met and final total was $28,036. A huge ‘thankyou lovely people’ from Eileen Kramer.

Released 13/03/2015

The power of social media is amazing when people are connected and inspired. Inspiring Eileen has the secret formula.

Released 13/03/2015

Still dancing at 100, Eileen Kramer’s creative spirit is undiminished. Renowned ABC program Compass kicked off their 2015 season with the beautifully produced ‘Dancing@100’ screened by our national broadcaster on Sunday 16 March. 

Released 7/02/2015

At age 100, Arts Health Institute Ambassador Eileen Kramer is creating new dance "The Early Ones". She needs your support to make this happen.

Released 1/09/2014

Play Up and Blue Care win the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency's 2014 Better Practice Award for Innovation

Released 14/07/2014

Friday the 11th of July was the final performance of the Amazing Magic Club’s first ever club in Brisbane. Nine young magicians took the stage at the Princess Theatre in front of a packed house and showed everyone who came some truly amazing magic.

Released 14/07/2014

Back by popular demand we are hosting our fantastic Play Up Convention again this November on the 24th and 25th in which we are exploring Creative Ideas in Ageing. This year at the convention we are calling out for abstracts.

Released 18/06/2014

Linda Taylor, General Manager of Blue Care South Coast explains the impact of the program in their seven residential aged care centres.

Released 13/05/2014

Save the date! We can now confirm that the dates for the 2014 Play Up convention are November 24th and 25th. 

Released 1/04/2014

The Arts Health Institute is hosting a series of fundraising events across Australia. With the new release of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel we saw a perfect opportunity to provide our “friends” with a fun evening filled with frivolity.

Released 10/01/2014

The inaugural Amazing Magic Club has been an incredible success. On Friday 17th January seven very special young people graduated as magnificent magicians as they completed the first ever Amazing Magic Club.

Released 17/12/2013

We have just released our second Annual Report! Full of inspiring stories of how our programs have improved the lives of aged care residents, staff and performers, as well as information on our new programs and the impact of Institute on Arts and Health. It’s a must read!

Released 9/12/2013

The Arts Health Institute to run the inaugural Amazing Magic Club!


We are very excited to be running our inaugural Amazing Magic Club this January! The Amazing Magic Club is an innovative, creative program for young people with spastic hemiplegia. Young people will have the opportunity to work alongside some of the country’s most talented magicians, Bruce Glen and Sam Angelico, to learn some incredible magic tricks.  At the end of the two-week residency they will be sharing their newfound skills with friends and family in a unique performance.

Released 3/09/2013

Congratulations to our Chairperson, Cynthia Payne who has been named as one of Aged Care Insite's Top 5 Inspirational Aged-care Professionals in their 2013 poll.

Released 22/08/2013

 Congratulations to Shane Carroll, a valued Arts Health Institute Board Member for winning the 2013 Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance.

Released 5/07/2013

Two years have flown by since Maggie and Jean-Paul officially opened the Arts Health Institute. On this day two years ago the official inaugural board meeting was held for what is now a growing and thriving organisation.  


Released 30/05/2013

Jean-Paul Bell, Creative Director of the Arts Health Institute decided to mark his 60th birthday by leading a travelling circus troupe on the ‘Roof of the World’ tour to the Himalayas. This pilgrimage was 35 years in the planning and a way of honouring the legacy of his childhood hero, Sir Edmund Hillary. To see the preview click here.  



Released 3/05/2013

BE INSPIRED, and register for AHI’s inaugural National Play Up Convention being held a Sydney’s Luna Park on Thursday 5 & Friday 6 September.

Released 26/04/2013

On Friday 19th April, the old Newcastle Post Office was once again the centre of attention as AHI celebrated World Circus Day. AHI performers put on a fantastical show for the large crowd, who ranged from families on school holidays, to office workers on their lunch break.

Released 12/04/2013

In celebration of World Circus Day 2013, on Friday 19th April between 12pm - 1:30pm, the Arts Health Institute will celebrate the happiness and joy circus’ have brought to people of all ages around the world, as well as the place this iconic building boasts in Newcastle’s history and future, the old Newcastle Post Office.

Released 21/03/2013

Between July 2009 and May 2011 our Creative Director Jean-Paul Bell took part in a randomized trial of humour therapy, called the SMILE Study. The results of this study were the driving force behind our Play Up program. The results have now been published in the internationally peer-reviewed online journal, the BMJ Open.

Released 6/02/2013

As part of our commitment to the continuing development and support of the Arts, and integrating the Arts into healthcare, the AHI has a proposal to restore Newcastle’s former Post Office and revive it as a creative space. This will enliven the urban quarter in the East End of Newcastle.

Released 20/11/2012

The Arts Health Institute is thrilled to announce that it is growing the presence of its humour therapy program, Play Up, into four more facilities in the Newcastle/Hunter region. With the addition of Calvary Aged Care facilities, along with the Whiddon Group facilities already running the program, the AHI has Play Up running in nine facilities in the area.

Released 16/11/2012

Arts Health Institute Director,  Lee Fay Low, has been awarded a Young Tall Poppies Science Award for NSW by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science at the award ceremony on Thursday 25th October. 

Released 31/10/2012
Seniors community lifestyle and care provider, IRT Dalmeny Care Centre, is reportedly one of the first in Australia to introduce a humour therapy program that improves the quality of life for people with dementia.
Released 16/10/2012

IRT Dalmeny Care Centre will be one of the first in Australia to introduce a humour therapy program that improves the quality of life for the growing number of people with dementia. Play Up is being introduced into IRT Dalmeny on Wednesday 17th October.

Released 24/09/2012

Dr Maggie Haertsch, CEO of the Arts Health Institute, was interviewed by Geraldine Doogue on ABC RN this morning.

Released 24/09/2012

A Current Affair joined John Paul Bell, creative director of the Arts Health Institute, and performer Joanna Weinberg last week to film a story about Play Up, the national humour therapy program established by the Arts Health Institute.

Released 9/09/2012

A team from The Arts Health Institute joined 1200 other people at the Alzheimer’s Australia Memory Walk at Speers Point Park, Lake Macquarie on Sunday, 9 September to raise awareness and much-needed funds to support people and their families living with dementia.

Released 17/08/2012

Thank you to the 50+ residential aged care facilities nation-wide putting progressive dementia care strategies into practice by providing Play Up Humour Therapy to their residents. There are often negative stories about aged care and dementia in the press but our experience in bringing alternatives, like humour therapy, to people living with dementia is full of joy and offers hope that life can continue to be meaningful and fun.

Released 14/08/2012

The Arts Health Institute (AHI) would like to congratulate Minister Butler and the Gillard government for including dementia as a national health priority.

Released 10/08/2012

It’s a celebration of young and old as students in years 5 and 6 at Kempsey West Primary School join with the Booroongen Djugun Aboriginal Aged Care Facility in Kempsey to create the Sing Out Loud Together Choir. Their efforts were recognised with a performance at Kempsey West Primary School on Tuesday 7th August.

Released 27/07/2012

 Like the old days of travelling vaudeville shows Play Up travels to rural and remote areas of Australia.

Released 25/07/2012

 Residents and staff from The Whiddon Group Easton Park in Glenfield, the Arts Health Institute Team and Play Up Performers celebrated a year that has seen Play Up emerge from the SMILE study to become the leading individualised Humour Therapy intervention nation-wide. Cheers to our first year of fun, folly and playfulness!

Released 23/07/2012

Play Up hit the road on Monday July 2nd 2012 to start the inaugural Back O' Bourke Circuit bringing humour therapy to Elders in rural and remote Australia.

Released 19/07/2012

Professional performers from all over Australia converged on The Whiddon Group Easton Park residential aged care facility in Glenfield NSW. Regular recruitment of Play Up Performers has been key to the success of Play Up in becoming the leading individualised Humour Therapy intervention nation-wide.

Released 7/01/2012

Since The SMILE Study, Play Up is being implemented in Residential Aged Care Facilities with more to start in January 2012. Humour triggered by the regular visits from Play Up Performers is being recognised as the first approach in managing challenging behaviours. The adoption of this research is changing dementia care and clinical practice.

Released 11/12/2011

Federal Minister for Ageing and Mental Health introduces the documentary "The Smile Within" a film that explains an Australian world-first large scale study on the effects of humour therapy for people with dementia.

Released 20/09/2011

SMILE Study results show we need humour therapy in aged care - media reports.

Released 13/09/2011

The Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses and Elderclowns (SMILE) Study is the world’s first high quality large scale research project that examined the effects of humour therapy on older people with dementia.

Released 12/09/2011

The Play Up Program started at The Whiddon Group Easton Park, Glenfield NSW Australia, in one of the largest aged care facilities in NSW caring for over 400 people.

Released 4/07/2011

The Arts Health Institute had its inaugural meeting on July 2, 2011.


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Address: 246 Forbes Street,
Darlinghurst Sydney NSW 2010


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“I had to come to aged care to find out I was talented.”
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