We are pleased to announce that the Cluj Cultural Center just won two grants under the Creative Europe program of the European Union worth 377,267 euros – 200,000 within the Art&Well-being project (addressing the role of art in individual welfare and the community – totaling 377,267 euro) and 177,267 for Studiotopia (with a total value of 2,811,475 euros, addresses sustainable development through convergent views of art and science).

Cluj Cultural Cenis the lead partner of the consortium coordinating the Art&Well-being project, in association with BOZAR (Belgium) and Maribor City Gallery (SIovenia) and one research institution – Bruno Kessler Foundation (Italy). The Art&Well-being project will explore the potential of arts to enhance individual and community well-being. Our goal is to develop new processes, activities, and networks to support cultural institutions in partnering with other stakeholders like municipalities, care centers, and urban planners across Europe to create new innovative projects, engage new audiences and raise awareness of the challenges that urban dwelling and a fast-paced contemporary life pose to the physical, emotional and mental health. We aim to do this by exploring the potential of arts to enhance individual and community well-being at individual, institutional, local and European levels.

The Studiotopia project involves eight international partners: Centre for Fine Arts /BOZAR (BE – lead partner), GLUON (BE), Cluj Cultural Centre (RO), Ars Electronica (AT), Ariona (GR), VU (NL), Centrum Sztuki Wspolczesnej Laznia (PL), Laboral (SP). being a speculative and creative journey that addresses sustainable development through the converging views of art and science. It offers a residency programme designed for a new generation of artists interested in collaborating with scientists as well as a process to engage with specific audiences in a creative way. Multi-disciplinarity and engagement are at the heart of the whole project. Our intention is to challenge the hierarchy between the arts & empirical sciences predominant in the 20th century, and challenge the technological and scientific determinism by enabling artists’ and other communities to input experimentally creative, critical and societal ideas.

 

Even though the emotions accompany us every step, every decision, we are not educated and socialized to understand, accept and manage them in a way that provides us with profound relationships and well-being. Culture has the means of expression and connection needed to sense our feelings, sharpen our senses and rethink our relationships. Our team began exploring the relationship between art and welfare four years ago. I am glad that through this project we can extend the interventions and research on art and physical, emotional and mental well-being, together with European partners with experience in this field.

Rarița Zbranca

Programme Director, Centrul Cultural Clujean

The Art&Well-being project activities include capacity building and advocacy, delivered through 3 artists and scientists in dialogue workshops and two international forums; research and the establishment of an Arts & Well-being Think Tank. It implements an experimental artistic programme: “Space. Co-Creation. Access”, that consists of: 3 spaces for arts, body, and mind, 12 new artistic productions with relevance to well-being and 3 cultural prescriptions pilot projects, involving around 150 artists and other professionals and an audience of 30000 in Brussels, Cluj, and Maribor.

In the light of urgent global challenges that are translated into the UN Sustainable Development Goals and various related EU policies, artists and scientists are increasingly stepping up to bring new perspectives and solutions. Through a series of 13 residencies, 26 Pop-up Labs with audiences such as young people, research activities, 6 exhibitions, 4 talks and cultural events, STUDIOTOPIA stimulates this endeavor by creating a fertile context for change and bundling the forces of multiple actors to realize concrete breakthroughs. Various communities, from young people to under-represented groups, are also involved through creative and participatory processes enabling trust and a greater awareness of our global challenges.

The 21 months (1.10.2019-30.06.2021) Art&Well-being‘s work programme has the following objectives:

  • To highlight the importance of health and emotional and mental well-being in contemporary society
  • To support cultural and urban actors to take an active role promoting culture and well-being in their communities
  • To facilitate a better understanding of the ways in which culture and cultural participation contribute to individual and collective well-being
  • To support European artistic co-operation and mobility of artists and of artworks benefitting health and psychological well-being
  • To innovate and pilot multidisciplinary and participatory artistic and cultural interventions that contribute to individual and community well-being
  • To increase access and participation of various groups to artistic events and processes that enhance well-being.

Studiotopia is a project that lasts for 36 months (2.09.2019-31.08.2022), and the Cluj Cultural Centre activities within the project include research, 2 residencies involving artists and scientists, 3 educational Pop-up labs, 3 public events and 2 exhibitions. The centre coordinates “Breaking new grounds” – the educational work package of the project.

Creative Europe is the European Commission’s framework programme for support to the culture and audiovisual sectors. Following on from the previous Culture Programme and MEDIA programme, Creative Europe, with a budget of €1.46 billion (9% higher than its predecessors), will support Europe’s cultural and creative sectors.

The Art&Well-being project is part of our Inner Space programme, an interdisciplinary project addressing the relationship between culture and psychological well-being. Artists, scientists, health and psychology experts work together to raise awareness on the dangers that today threaten our mental and emotional health, both at individual and community level. We work together to explore and experience how art and cultural participation can contribute to the inner well-being of the city’s inhabitants.

Inner Space programme aims that Cluj-Napoca becomes one of the first European cities to include psychological well-being among the strategic factors for its sustainable development and an important center of expertise in art and well-being in Central and Eastern Europe.