Cities and regions in the Baltic Sea Region want to use art to alleviate tensions and reduce the psychological costs of the toils of everyday life.
On 6th and 7th September 2023, the partners of the project "Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sea Region" had the opportunity to meet in Szczecin, the capital of West Pomerania, for the second international workshop.
This project aims to develop and test an innovative way of increasing the well-being of people in the Baltic Sea Region through sustainable cooperation between the cultural and health sectors at both local and regional levels. It will make it possible to provide effective support to those groups of citizens who are mentally vulnerable. "Arts on prescription" is a concept that has already been tested through small-scale programs in countries such as the UK, Sweden, and Denmark. The idea is that people with poor mental well-being due to conditions such as depression, stress, or anxiety, or those at risk of developing such conditions, are given a prescription not for medication or therapy but to participate in regular group art activities.
The project partners are representatives from 13 institutions from 7 countries in the Baltic Sea area (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Latvia).
During the first day of the workshop, Mrs Anna Bańkowska, Member of the Executive Board of the West Pomeranian Region, welcomed the guests. The project leader, Stine Eskesen Keiding from Denmark, and representatives of the REM consortium presented the implementation status of the AoP project and the meeting objectives in Szczecin. The program mainly focused on delivering the concept of the pilot activities planned by seven project partners, which include Odense in Denmark, Bremen in Germany, the region of Norrbotten from Sweden, the Latvian cities of Kies and Saldus, as well as West Pomerania and the Media Dizajn Association.
The workshops will cover more than a dozen art disciplines and will start from October this year until autumn 2024. Their primary objective is to enhance the mental well-being of young people, adults, and elderly participants through regular involvement in various art-related activities, including:
- releasing and relieving accumulated emotions and stress;
- learning to cooperate and communicate;
- showing alternative forms of spending free time without the Internet; stimulating and developing imagination and creativity;
- building healthy habits;
- enabling people to make friends;
- increasing self-confidence.
In the afternoon, project participants met representatives of Szczecin's cultural institutions and had the opportunity to see the city.
As part of the international workshops in Szczecin, the project partners also worked on the development of the Arts on Prescription in Baltic Sea Region project concept, including the online platform of the Practitioner's Guide, the development and adaptation of the evaluation framework for the program, and engaged in a debate on the next steps of the project with a focus on how to conduct an information campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the arts in improving mental health.
In addition, on the second day, Imke Seifert and Hannah Goebel from Bremen led a Train the Trainers workshop for the participants, which prepared the partners' representatives to implement the Arts on the Prescription program in their countries.
The Baltic Sea Region Interreg Programme 2021 - 2027 co-financed the project. More information can be found here: https://interreg-baltic.eu/project/arts-on-prescription/.