andle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being is the 2023 edition of Culture Action Europe’s Beyond the Obvious gathering. This international get-together invites practitioners, organisations and institutions, policy-makers, thinkers, researchers, activists and artivists from the cultural, social and health sectors working on topics related to care, well-being, health and culture. Handle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being will take place in Elefsina, Greece from 7 to 10 June 2023. It is co-organised by Culture Action Europe, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, the CultureForHealth project and is co-financed by the European Union.
The multitude of crises our societies are facing today, including the climate and social injustice, wars, pandemic, economic and political upheavals in and beyond Europe, requires an urgent cultural response: a response rooted in care for the planet and communities, care for each other. To navigate these uncertainties, we are in search of a compass, a sense of direction towards a sustainable, democratic, caring future. The Handle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being gathering aims to collectively explore the significance of care as an ethical and political obligation for our societies and the role culture and cultural professionals can play in this. It will specifically discuss the evidence on the role of culture in improving health and well-being. How can culture and participation in the cultural life of communities nourish the sense of social and individual well-being?
Today, we are announcing the programme of the Handle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being gathering. We are delighted to continue exploring the concept of care (following a series of two online talks – Different Takes on Care) from various angles. Our international and Greek contributors and speakers will share their perspectives on what care means in the contemporary context. Philsan Omar Osman (Somalia/Belgium) who is an aspiring writer, activist and community builder will approach care from the Ecofeminist perspective, Katerina Gregos (Greece), artistic director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Athens will shed the light on the care and working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors, while Liz Atkins (UK), artist, educator and mental health advocate will dive into how culture and the art can contribute to social and mental well-being at the individual and community levels.
The 2023 edition of the Beyond the Obvious gathering will also feature participatory discussions – care circles – addressing topics of Care and Mental Health, Care and Youth, Communities of Care, Curating Care, Care for Culture (and cultural workers), Care for Climate, Care for Commons and Care and Borders.
The Handle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being gathering will have a special focus on the CultureForHealth project and its outcomes. Speakers from cultural and health sectors from across Europe will propose future advocacy paths to trigger a true policy change and scale up reflection on the EU comprehensive approach to mental health. Five practical workshops will further explore questions on how cities can implement arts and health activities, what are main principles for culture and health collaboration projects, how to push the policy (and practice) change at local level, how to support culture based social prescribing and if we need a new arts & health profession? CultureForHealth Pilot projects will also be present in Elefsina.