Over the last three decades, there has been much research exploring the health and wellbeing of performing artists. Research has shown that a significant proportion of performers (above 50%) suffer from physical and psychological problems that impact on their work; these include musculoskeletal problems, injury, anxiety and stress, along with financial and career instability challenges. While conservatoires and professional bodies across the world have responded by offering health support, evidence still shows that students and professional performers engage very little in health promoting behaviours. This is perplexing considering the amount of health information widely and easily available.
Alongside this, the World Health Organisation has suggested that health promotion activities need to be specifically adapted to the settings in which they are delivered. The Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges is an example of the response to this within higher education and calls for health to be embedded into all aspects of tertiary education culture, across administration, operations, and academic mandates, ensuring that institutions take action to promote health, not just to respond to students’ problems. The UK Healthy Universities initiative, is a highly regarded example of this approach, highlighting the need for institutions to adopt a settings based, whole system perspectives to ensure that the places in which people learn, live, work and play facilitate good health and wellbeing.