The "Societal Value of Arts and Culture and the impact on Well-being, Mental Health, and Inclusion for All" online workshop.
The "Societal Value of Arts and Culture and the impact on Well-being, Mental Health, and Inclusion for All" online workshop held on the 21st of June 2023 from 9:30 to 12:30 (CEST) aimed to explore the transformative power of arts and culture in society. This gathering has been organized within the framework of a recent Communication issued by the European Commission, highlighting the intrinsic connections between arts, culture, and the promotion of health and well-being. Recognizing the significant interplay between cultural engagement and individuals' mental health, this Communication underscores the pivotal role that cultural activities play in fostering emotional well-being, promoting social inclusion, and enhancing overall quality of life. The virtual nature of the workshop allowed for broad participation and facilitated knowledge exchange among a diverse range of attendees. The workshop commenced with a warm welcome from Irene Norstedt, Director of RTD - People Directorate, setting an atmosphere of collaboration and exploration. Her opening remarks emphasized the significance of arts and culture in fostering well-being, supporting mental health, and promoting inclusivity for all members of society.
The first session, titled "Societal value of culture and the impact of cultural policies in Europe," was moderated by Kristien Van Goey, Head of Unit, Inclusive Society, REA.C.1. Susanne Janssen and Marc Verboord from Erasmus University Rotterdam introduced INVENT Culture, a comprehensive European Inventory of Societal Values of Culture. Their research aimed to provide a robust foundation for developing inclusive cultural policies across Europe. Pau Rausell Koster and Francesco Molinari from the University of Valencia presented MESOC, a project that focused on measuring the social dimension of culture. Their research aimed to identify the societal impacts of cultural activities and policies, contributing to evidence-based decision-making. Arturo
Rodríquez Morató from the University of Barcelona and Sílvia Silva from the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra shared insights from the UNCHARTED project. Their presentation explored the intricate relationships between culture, society, and the value that arts bring to communities.
Following a Q&A session moderated by Beatrice Lucaroni, Policy Officer, Fair Societies and Cultural Heritage, the key takeaways and recommendations for the future were presented by Kristien Van Goey. Participants had the opportunity to engage with the speakers, seeking further clarification and expanding on the topics discussed. The Q&A session highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the workshop, bringing together perspectives from academia, research, and policy realms.
The second session explored research results on the impact of culture and arts on well-being, mental health, loneliness, and inclusion for all. Moderated by Mina Stareva, Deputy Head of Unit, Fair Societies and Cultural Heritage, the session featured presentations on AMASS, which focuses on arts as social sculpture, by Satu Miettinen from the University of Lapland. Matthew Pelowski from the University of Vienna presented ARTIS, highlighting the role of art and research in societal transformations.
Mikel Zorrilla from the Fundación Centro de Tecnologías de interacción visual y Comunicaciones shared insights from TRACTION, which explores opera co-creation for social transformation.
A Q&A session, led by Beatrice Lucaroni, was followed by key takeaways and recommendations for the future, presented by Mina Stareva. Mina Stareva, in her concluding remarks, highlighted the significance of the research presented in Session 2 and drew attention to the broader implications for policy and practice. She underscored the need for continued investment in research on the intersection of arts, culture, and well-being, emphasizing the potential to create more inclusive and resilient societies.
The event concluded with a wrap-up discussion for Sessions 1 and 2 facilitated by Beatrice Lucaroni, providing an opportunity to synthesize the valuable insights shared throughout the workshop. Overall, the "Societal Value of Arts and Culture and the impact on Well-being, Mental Health, and Inclusion for All" workshop was a significant milestone in advancing the understanding and appreciation of arts and culture's transformative power. By exploring the intersection of arts, culture, well-being, mental health, and inclusion, the workshop contributed to the development of evidence-based policies and practices that can positively impact individuals and communities alike.