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Culture and Health: the strategic alliance promoted by the IBSA Foundation

04 September 2020

An online portal is the first step of the project that attaches importance to art that improves the health of people and communities

The revival of the fruitful bond between Culture and Health has been one of the consequences of the lockdown due to COVID19. In these times of upheaval and uncertainty, in fact, cultural activities have proven once again to be a resource that fills people's lives. This is the framework for the three-year strategic project “Culture and Health. An alliance for a sustainable future” which aims to foster and promote knowledge, support new processes and projects in the field of this alliance in places of culture, in healthcare facilities and in urban fabrics.

“Culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.” UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity

The initiative, carried out by the IBSA Foundation in partnership with the Culture Division of the City of Lugano, was presented on March 10th and is part of a broader effort: the project is part of the strategic "Art and Science" plan aimed at bridging the Cartesian dualism, favoring the dialogue between disciplines and between humanistic and scientific knowledge, and telling and living the complexity of the world, both visible and invisible. This path has already led the Foundation to forge important partnerships with MASI - Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan and to collaborate with Trento’s MUSE - Science Museum - since 2018.

The Culture and Health project stems from the awareness that a stronger alliance between two seemingly distant worlds, such as art and physical and psychological well-being, can lead to better living conditions, both inside and outside healthcare facilities, as demonstrated by several experiences that have been active for years both in Switzerland and abroad. The role of the arts in improving health and well-being has also been confirmed in the WHO report "What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review (2019)".

With physical distancing, the arts have entered our homes and our daily lives also through an acceleration of the digital cultural offering, a true resource of well-being that gives value to our time pending the return to a rich social interaction in public spaces. For this reason, the IBSA Foundation and the City of Lugano have decided to speed up the launch of the website culturaesalute.ch with the page “Connessi per accorciare le distanze” (Connected to shorten distances). It offers a selection of opportunities provided by the extraordinary digital heritage produced by the local and international cultural ecosystem as a reaction to the lockdown caused by the pandemic. A resource to help internauts to always be updated on what’s new with a just a click. These are experiences that do not replace the pleasure of a collective event, for which we will still have to wait, but that allow us to bridge the distance with the places of culture and the thought of artists.

“The scientific evidence that the arts contribute to the well-being of people and patients is the foundation of most of our activities; in particular, this important project will give us the opportunity to disseminate research with the greatest impact on the subject. The ‘Culture and Health’ Project will allow us to provide new offerings, new languages and new channels to continue to share values and emotions and to dialogue with our communities.” says Silvia Misiti, Head of Corporate Communication & CSR IBSA Group and Director of the IBSA Foundation for scientific research.

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