The ‘Critical Mass’ initiative – helping promote an international new understanding in arts in health | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2040-2457
  • E-ISSN: 2040-2465



The field of arts in health is developing globally. Partly constituting notes from the field, and partly setting out a prospectus for future action and enquiry, this article provides a descriptive account of an initiative called Critical Mass which, through a series of colloquia that began in 2011, is building an international network for collaboration and exchange in the research and practice of community-based arts in health. In describing the process of these meetings we set out the common ground and the practical and theoretical issues that both support and challenge effective arts in health work across different territories, cultures and healthcare systems. We present a case study example of an artist exchange between Northern England and Western Australia. Progress to date suggests that the Critical Mass initiative is focussed on reflective practice in community-based arts in health, and that practical collaborations are characterized by a spirit of co-production with an emphasis on relationship-based working rather than an overarching strategy.


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