The Border Times

The Pinnaroo Project arts and health program aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Pinnaroo residents through participation in local arts and culture activities.

The Flinders University Caring Futures Institute is partnering with the local team to conduct a health study; to monitor and measure the health impact of The Pinnaroo Project with a focus on heart health and wellbeing.

Anyone identifying as a Pinnaroo resident, aged 8 years and over, will be eligible to participate in the health study. Participation is free, confidential, and designed to take about 20 minutes. The aim of the study is to understand the health needs of the town and measure how art and culture activities can impact upon the wellbeing of the Pinnaroo community. 

The Flinders team will ask participants to complete a questionnaire about their health and lifestyle and take a brief set of clinical measurements including blood pressure, height, weight, and a finger prick test for blood sugar and cholesterol. Everyone will be offered a take-home copy of their results. The community will be asked to participate in further measurements over the following 2 years to monitor changes in their overall wellbeing. 

Flinders University team (L-R) Matt Wallen, Sara Noonan, Prof Robyn Clark, Vincent Pearson, Lemma Bulto

Professor Robyn Clark is leading the project. “Participation in art has been shown to reduce illness and improve health in a number of settings. The Pinnaroo Project will measure, over time, how participation in art activities affects heart health and wellbeing” she said.

Pinnaroo is setting the pace for developing a non-medical model to improve heart health. Debbie Colwill, Co-Chair of The Pinnaroo Project Committee, said she hopes there will be improvements in the health of the community without the use of medical aids or medications, which may result in this type of program being recognised more widely for improved health outcomes.

The Flinders University team will use what works with The Pinnaroo Project to develop a process for evaluating other community art and culture activities; to measure the health and wellbeing impact of art for health in a range of settings. 

Alongside the research, arts and culture activities across a range of genres will be made available to the Pinnaroo community through the Mallee Studio hub in the Main Street. Activities will be advertised through social media and at the Mallee Studio – keep an eye out for the next workshop starting soon. 

The Flinders team, pictured above, will be at the Mallee Studio hub for community consultation between 10.30am and 1.00pm on Friday 17th June, and will be back to start the study in July.

For more information, contact Liz Moyle at the Mallee Studio (open Fridays 10:30am-3:30pm) or email Study Project Manager Sara Noonan at sara.noonan@flinders.edu.au .

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