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February 9, 2023

EVENT: The CultureForHealth final conference in Elefsina, European Capital of Culture 2023

7 to 10 June 2023. The #CultureForHealth final event will take place this summer in Elefsina - the European Capital of Culture 2023.

By CultureForHealth

As part of the international conference, "Handle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being", CultureForHealth invites you to the final presentation of the results, work and relationships of the two-year-long marathon for the interdisciplinary bottom-up policy development project.


Handle with Care | Culture for Social Well-being international get-together invites practitioners, organisations and institutions, policy-makers, thinkers, researchers, activists and artists from the cultural, social and health sectors working on topics related to care, well-being, health and culture.

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?


We have produced a video with speeches from the CultureForHealth Final Conference. You can watch it here.

Video from the event

Event Programme

Event Programme


Wednesday 7 June

19:00 Official opening of the Beyond the Obvious 2023 “Handle with Care: Culture for Social Wellbeing” and welcome dinner.

Welcome words from Ines Camara, Culture Action Europe, Michail Marmarinos, General Artistic Director (2023 Eleusis) and Catherine Magnant (European Commission, tbc)

Thursday 8 June

10.00 – 10.10 Welcome and opening Lars Ebert, Culture Action Europe

10:10 – 10:30 Activation by Andrew Greenwood, Artistic Director, Switch2move

10:30 – 11.45 Different takes on care, Speakers: Katharina Gregos, Philsan Osman, Liz Atkin, moderated by Natassa Dourida

11:45 – 14.00 Circles of Care, participatory discussion circles addressing various aspects of notions of care

- Care and Mental Health

- Care and Youth

- Communities of Care

- Curating Care

- Care for Culture (and cultural workers)

- Care for Climate

- Care for Commons

- Care and Borders


14:00 – 16.00 LUNCH BREAK


16.00 – 18.00 Handle with Care Projects’ Agora, a marketplace of 30 selected projects

16:00 – 18:00 The Elefsina Manifesto co-writing session

Free evening, cultural visits

Friday 9 June

10.00 - 10.30 Welcome and presentation of the CultureForHealth project by Kornelia Kiss (Culture Action Europe) and Mafalda Damaso

10:30 - 11:45 Next steps to take - Achieving true policy change and scaling up. Reflection on the EU comprehensive approach to Mental Health Speakers: Andrew Greenwood (Artistic Director, Switch2move, Netherlands), Monica Urian, Policy officer, DG Education, Youth and Sports, Unit D1 Cultural Policy, Noemi Avila Valdes Associated Professor at the School of Education of the Complutense University (Spain) , Ana Casla, Head of Mental Health Promotion of Madrid Salud, Spain. Moderator: Rarita Zbranca, Programme Director, Cluj Cultural Centre


11.45 - 12:15 COFFEE BREAK

12:15- 13:00 Keynote by Margaritis Schinas, Vice-president of the European Commission, introduced by Lars Ebert (Culture Action Europe)

​13:00-13:15 Cultural Prescription program in Greece (introduced by Lars Ebert, Culture Action Europe). Speakers: Nikos Stefanis, MD, FRANZCP, Prof. of Psychiatry, Chairman First Department of Psychiatry National and Kapodistrian University of Athens - Eginition Hospital and Margarita Alexomanolaki , PhD, Head of Directorate of Performing Arts and Cinema, in charge of the Implementing Body (Ministry of Culture and Sports) of the project "Cultural Prescription".

​13:15-13:30 Q&A

13.30 - 15:00 LUNCH BREAK


15:00 - 16:15 Parallel workshops in Workers’ Union (3) and Kanellopoulos (2)

Care-cities: Strategies for Enhancing Urban Well-being through Culture

Moderator: Rarita Zbranca (Cluj Cultural Centre)

The workshop focuses on how cities across Europe can harness the power of the arts to catalyse resilience, promote health, and cultivate thriving communities. More specifically, we explore how cross-sector partnerships integrating artistic expression, cultural programming, and health initiatives can nurture social connections, enhance mental well-being and revitalise public spaces, and foster community engagement. The workshop looks into possible synergies with a range of European policies, presents inspiring case studies from cities that have already developed cultural welfare strategies and facilitates a conversation on models, tools and approaches that can be adopted by cities aspiring to enable a culture of care in their communities.

Talking Points: Arts and Health in Communities

Moderator: Inga Surgunte

The workshop will explore five basic principles to be considered when implementing a culture and health project: Participation and co-production; Being outcomes focused; Iterative learning; Universal design; Social model vs Medical model. The principles reveal challenges of the intersectoral collaboration and possible solutions through different approaches to project design. During the workshop participants will have the opportunity to discuss more deeply on the practical implications of each principle. The workshop is based on the guide “Talking Points: Arts and Health in Communities” published by Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC) and Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) in May , 2023.

Pushing the policy and practice in your country

Moderator: Mafalda Damaso Bernardino and Polona Torkar

The Workshop will dive into the recent “Compendium of sustainable culture-based solutions for well-being and health” publication of the CultureForHealth project that aims to inspire more cultural organisations across Europe to join the culture for health and well-being space. Find out about how cultural interventions can support positive health and well-being outcomes and draw on guidance to equip your organisation for the journey towards a culture-based project for health.


Do we need to start a new arts & health profession?

Moderator: Kornelia Kiss, Lars Ebert

Let’s imagine that policy makers support politically and financially the arts and health field. How shall we start? If we set up trainings -what should be the content of those trainings? Are there some ethical aspects that we would need to consider? Can we draw upon already existing materials? Should arts and health professionals (who are not art therapist) be accredited or registered? What is the common ground between the more regulated health sector and cultural sector?


What the arts can do in social prescribing

Moderator Mikkel Ottow

Arts on prescription and social prescribing is spreading in Europe. But what is the particular role of the arts in these health promoting concepts? What are the ingredients that trigger health promotion when dealing with arts in different ways? And can we create a set of European recommendations for cities and communities that want to implement arts on prescription or social prescribing?


16:30 - 17:15 Plenary reporting back from workshops (panel discussion of chairs, moderated by Lars Ebert)

17:15- 17:45 Closing of the conference, the Elefsina manifesto read-out

20:30 – Symposium Dinner (Kalimpaki)


Saturday 10 June

Cultural visits & departures


Your can already register here


Beyond the Obvious Conference 2023, June 7-10, Elefsina

The Beyond the Obvious Conference creates a space to rethink culture – an opportunity to explore its borders and edges and move beyond conventional assumptions, beliefs, and practices that impede the contributions culture can make to social and economic regeneration at a local, national, and European level.

Beyond the Obvious enables and facilitates collaboration between actors from different societal sectors seeking answers to common challenges by putting culture at the heart of public debate and decision-making.

Each year, Beyond the Obvious connects the European cultural community with that of the host city, facilitating a mutual exchange beneficial for the empowerment of both communities. Beyond the Obvious 2023, will be held in Elefsina, European Capital of Culture, and will focus on the theme of Culture and Wellbeing.

The conference is part of the European Capitol of Culture programme and is listed as MYSTERY 79


Culture Action Europe (BE)


The 2023 Eleusis attempts to reveal the unseen side of Elefsina, signaling a new era for the city and its people.

Thanks to its natural port and strategic location, 21 km west of Athens, the city of the Elefsinian Mysteries and birthplace of Aeschylus in the Thriassian Plain, the northwesternmost tip of the Saronic Gulf, Elefsina became one of the five most important sacred cities of antiquity.

From the 19th century onwards, Elefsina was transformed into the productive engine of Greece and one of its largest industrial centers. The signs of industrialization are prominent on the body of the city, affecting it and often building the perception of a place that keeps its cultural wealth well guarded, like a timeless mystery.

Drawing inspiration from the rich history of the city, 2023 Eleusis form an integrated artistic, research and educational programme, with the general title Mysteries of Transition, which focuses on the three axes: People – Society, Labour and Environment.