Greater Manchester is a global heartland of arts, health and social change - inspiring new ways of thinking, being and doing - with culture offering compelling ways of addressing societal concerns.

The day-to-day realities affecting our ageing population, the extremes of loneliness and escalating mental health issues - these are all contemporary health and social concerns where participation with the arts in all their forms can have significant impacts on a person’s quality of life. 

The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change is a collective of people and organisations committed to improving the health of communities and addressing inequalities and their causes across Greater Manchester, nationally and globally. The Institute will bring together and support a community of citizens, artists, curators, educators, health and care professionals and activists alongside international experts and leading researchers to re-frame the power of culture and the arts.

Over the last six months we’ve been having conversations about our shared values and the ways in which we will drive this work forward together. Now The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change is proud to launch The Manchester Declaration at the World Healthcare Congress (Europe). It provides us with the perfect time and place to begin re-imagining how we address health and social change over the next five years.

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WE ARE A COLLECTIVE of people driven by our experience, knowledge and commitment to promote health, wellbeing and social change through culture, creativity and the arts in all their forms.

WE ACKNOWLEDGE the role that participation in culture and the arts can play in the lives of all members of society, regardless of the factors that may create barriers to that participation.

WE BELIEVE that the arts enrich all our lives from the cradle to the grave and we are committed to everyone having access to culture and freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.

WE WILL PURSUE a rich and nuanced agenda for social change where the most exciting, profound and challenging cultural opportunities are available to everyone.

WE WILL CELEBRATE neurodiversity, nurturing and embracing difference in all its forms, supporting people to realise their potential through the arts.

WE ARE COMMITTED to creating the means to make culture and the arts accessible to the many.

WE WILL ENRICH our understanding of the potency of culture through ground-breaking and innovative research to better inform our shared approach to addressing inequalities.

WE WILL HARNESS stories and data to create new ways of understanding the reach and impact of our work.

WE CONSIDER that environmental public health and the wellbeing of communities and individuals are inseparable.

WE WILL EXPLORE practice, exchange and research between artists, carers and health professionals to learn from each other and develop a supportive culture of empathy and care.

WE WILL ENCOURAGE culture and the arts in our towns and cities to arouse people to be curious, inspired and critical of the status quo.

WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the arts are not a panacea for all life's ills, but we assert that they provide opportunities to give voice to multiple perspectives of lived experience.


Greater Manchester will be a city region where arts and culture are seen as central to the wellbeing of its diverse residents and workforce, a global leader exemplifying the very best in arts, health and social change.

Download The Manchester Declaration

The Manchester Declaration was compiled by Clive Parkinson for The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change. This work stems from the research-informed direction of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University and it complements Creative Health, the report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health & Wellbeing and the strategic direction of The Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

If our aspirations resonate with you and you want to be part of this groundswell of thinking, being and doing, sign up to our network HERE and submit a photo and link for our community page by emailing We are more than the sum of our parts and believe that collective activity and research will influence the future of health and social change.