First Nations music as a determinant of health in Australia and Vanuatu: Political and economic determinants

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Health Promotion International





PubMed ID



Oxford Academic


Kurongkurl Katitjin




Discovery Indigenous Program of the Australian Research Council / Creative Arts Research Institute at Griffith University

Grant Number

ARC Number : IN210100044

Grant Link


Sunderland, N., Graham, P., Bartleet, B. L., Garvey, D., Bracknell, C., Apps, K., ... & Vervoort, S. (2023). First Nations music as a determinant of health in Australia and Vanuatu: political and economic determinants. Health Promotion International, 38(2), daac190.


This article reports on findings that indicate how First Nations musical activities function as cultural determinants of health. Drawing on early findings from a 3-year Australian Research Council funded project titled The Remedy Project: First Nations Music as a Determinant of Health, we detail Australian and Ni Vanuatu First Nations musicians’ reported outcomes of musical activity using a First Nations cultural determinants of health framework. The broader findings indicate that our respondents see musical activity as actively shaping all known domains of cultural health determinants, and some surrounding political and social determinants. However, this paper focusses specifically on the political and economic determinants that emerged in analysis as the most dominant subthemes. We argue that this study provides strong impetus for continued investigation and reconceptualization of the place of music in cultural health determinant models. Lay summary This article looks at how making and performing music, recording music and listening to music helps the health of First Nations peoples in Australia and Ni Vanuatu. Music is an important part of the lives of First Nations peoples from these places and so research was done to try to understand why it is meaningful. Music can be used as an outlet for personal feelings, and can also be a way that groups of people can express common concerns. First Nations musicians talked about how music makes them feel, and how music is used to strengthen relationships between people, and between people and their culture. Musicians also talked about how music helps them express their political and economic goals. The findings backed up existing First Nations’ models of health that say that health for First Nations People’s needs to be thought about in a holistic way. The findings also showed that the relationship between music and health needs to be studied more so that we can better understand how it helps maintain links with the past, gives a guide for the present and opens options for the future.



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