The problem of application: aesthetics in creativity and health

Health Care Anal. 2009 Dec;17(4):345-55. doi: 10.1007/s10728-009-0129-9.


The Problem of Application investigates the multiple viewpoints in defining a critical aesthetic in applied arts practice. Amongst organisations, participants, and facilitators there are varying wants and needs in any creative project with an educational agenda. The product of arts based health initiatives often seek to inform and educate, whereby an aesthetic standard may seem contrary to this participatory approach. This research maintains that an aesthetic approach is a lively portion of the collaborative dialogue, which requires interrogation and consideration for a successful outcome. Through the analysis of a participatory arts project completed in West Africa addressing youth issues and HIV/AIDS, The Problem of Application seeks to uncover the multiple facets surrounding the defining of aesthetics in applied practice. The project entitled Youth Visions: Transforming our Futures Together worked with students aged 17-21 to develop an outdoor mural and a live performance inspired by the traditions of local festivals. With an anthropological approach to aesthetic criticism, Youth Visions revealed the multiple layers that define our focus of appreciation.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Africa, Western
  • Art
  • Creativity*
  • Drama
  • Esthetics*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Young Adult