Aesop Toolbox develops research methodology, evidence and policy to support arts activity with a social purpose. It underpins our work in the areas of market and knowledge development.

The Toolbox contains:

  • The “Aesop PHE Framework”, a tool for health commissioners, third sector organisations, trainers, funders, practitioners, managers, arts organisations and others with an interest in the development and evaluation of arts for health and wellbeing programmes. You can download it here.
  • The “Aesop slice”, a practical tool for thinking simultaneously about an artwork/artistic activity, its artistic power and outcomes, and its potential to achieve non-arts outcomes. This offers a way out of the arts sector’s debilitating ‘intrinsic versus instrumental’ mindset.
  • The “Aesop Artistic Outcomes Framework”, the first framework for artistic outcomes and offers support for evaluating and measuring artistic outcomes.
  • “Arts push” and “Society pull” – Aesop’s radically different approach to developing socially purposeful arts interventions. It starts with a specific challenge or unmet need in a particular social sector outside the arts. It then scans all artistic options to create something which the particular social sector wants and is willing to pay for. Aesop calls this approach society pull.
  • “Nine types of arts in health activities” – Limited work had been done to distinguish between different arts in health activities. Aesop uses nine types:
    1. Participatory arts programmes to deliver specified health outcomes.
    2. Technology-based arts activities to deliver health outcomes.
    3. Arts for public health engagement and education.
    4. Arts for improving the health environment.
    5. Arts to improve staff welfare and contribute to staff development.
    6. Arts to support system change.
    7. Arts in psychotherapy.
    8. Arts for expressing the experience of health and social care services.
    9. Everyday arts activities with general health benefits.


Aesop led the first systematic project to introduce health economics to arts in health. On this it has collaborated with Professor Martin Knapp, Professor of Social Policy at the LSE, Professor of Health Economics at the Institute of Psychiatry, and Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research.