In an arts in public health research team, artists may be undervalued as key research collaborators because of the difficulties in skillful integration of experts who possess not only different bodies of knowledge but also different ways of examining and valuing the world. Under the stewardship of two Rhode Island state agencies, an innovative research-driven enterprise, comprising researchers, clinicians, and community artists, was brought together to integrate arts-based interventions into statewide public health policy and practice. Here, we examine our work with the Rhode Island Arts and Health Advisory Group as a case study to illuminate our experiences in collaborating with artists on public health policy and practice research. Using existing frameworks from the literature, we define the attributes of, and challenges to, successful research collaborations and identify from our work how these apply to interdisciplinary collaborations between artists and public health practitioners. To support others working at the nexus of arts in public health, we include key experiences that were specific to the engagement of artists in research teams.
Keywords: arts; arts and public health; arts in public health; creative arts; evidence synthesis; interdisciplinary research; public health; team science.