Launch of The CultureForHealth Report!

24 November, 2022 | 10.00 – 14.30 CET


Free, registration required

Policymakers, arts, cultural and health practitioners and experts are coming together on 24 November to showcase the potential that culture has on improving our health and well-being. The project CultureForHealth has launched their report collecting over 300 scientific studies on culture’s contribution to health and well-being, as well as providing policy recommendations for Europe.

During her State of the Union (SOTEU) speech on 14 September, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated “We should take better care of each other. And for many who feel anxious and lost, appropriate, accessible and affordable support can make all the difference.” She proposed a new initiative on mental health, a direct follow-up to calls coming from citizens during the one-year-long Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) process. The ninth proposal of the CoFoE asks for “a broader understanding of health” and the first measure demands to “improve understanding of mental health issues and ways of addressing them.” 

More than 85 million citizens in the EU were affected by mental health problems before the COVID-19 pandemic,  and since then the mental health crisis was exacerbated by a series of direct and indirect reasons including the pandemic, growing inequalities, forceful displacement of people due to war and political conflict, climate anxiety and the dynamic changes to work and the economy. It has become clear that new solutions and approaches are needed. With health and well-being as one of the strategic areas of the new Commission’s Work Programme, it is an intersection where culture could give a dramatic contribution. If it is given the opportunity – and the recognition.

The CultureForHealth project, an EU preparatory action – Bottom-Up Policy Development for Culture & Well-being in the EU, unveiled the “CultureForHealth Report – Scoping review of culture, well-being, and health interventions and their evidence, impacts, challenges and policy recommendations for Europe” in early November. The report compiles evidence from over 300 scientific studies that show that participation in cultural activities improves the health and well-being of citizens. It also provides a set of policy recommendations, gathering knowledge through roundtables with experts and practitioners.

With different EU Member States comes varying awareness of the critical role of culture and the arts in improving health and well-being at both the individual and collective levels. In the Nordics, there are already clear strategies developed around culture and health, while other countries have focused on short-term arts and health projects and art therapy. However, creating policies for sustainable, long-term interventions calls for the health, cultural and social sectors to co-design and work together, using knowledge of recent developments in methods and evidence across disciplines. One promising methodology is social prescribing, including culture on prescription practices, which is already established in the UK and the Nordics. Without these integrative approaches, the upcoming EU Mental Health Strategy would be outdated and would miss one of the key ingredients that can help EU citizens\’ mental health get better.  

On 24 November 2022, the project is hosting an online launch of the CultureForHealth Report to present the findings, the policy recommendations as well as examples of interventions currently happening within cultural and health and well-being sectors. With the ambition to trigger a true policy change in the EU on all levels, the programme brings policymakers, arts and cultural practitioners, and health and wellbeing experts together to dive deeper into the findings of the CultureForHealth Report. Speakers will include MEP Pernille Weiss, member of the European Parliament, member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety; Georg Haeusler– Director, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission, Nils Fietje -Technical Officer in the Behavioural and Cultural Insights Unit at World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe who was involved in commissioning the WHO 2019 report on the subject and Veronique Wasbauer– Directorate General for Health & Food Safety.

CultureForHealth is implemented by a consortium consisting of Culture Action Europe, Trans Europe Halles, Central Denmark Region, The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture, Cluj Cultural Centre, and Društvo Asociacija. The project is co-funded by the European Union.

CultureForHealth is the implementing project of the EU Preparatory Action: Bottom-Up Policy  Development for Culture & Well-being in the EU which aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge,  experience and success stories in the EU related to the role of culture for well-being and health, map the most relevant existing practises, carry out small-scale pilot work on the ground and provide a set of policy recommendations on the topic.

The full programme of the event on 24 November can be found here:

The CultureforHealth Report can be downloaded here:


Kornelia Kiss

Projects and Operations Director, Culture Action Europe

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