Cultural Heritage for Mental Health 2 | International conference

Op 10 en 11 december 2020 brengt de conferentie Cultural Heritage for Mental Health voor de tweede keer experten uit heel de wereld en verschillende sectoren samen in het Gentse Museum Dr. Guislain. Net als de eerste succesvolle editie in 2018, belooft dit evenement heel wat interessante inzichten op te leveren over hoe de cultureel-erfgoedpraktijk het welzijn van mensen kan verbeteren.

De focus ligt ditmaal specifiek op mensen die herstellen van geestelijke gezondheidsproblemen en mensen in een kwetsbare mentale situatie. Het programma is opgebouwd rond drie thema’s: Thinking Through Making, Green Spaces of Care en Textual Healing.

Volg de conferentie op sociale media via #CHMH20.

Hieronder vindt u de Engelstalige aankondiging met links naar het programma en het inschrijfformulier.


That culture can create a social value and have a positive impact on health and wellbeing is not just a matter of belief. It’s possible, provided that cultural organisations develop sustainable offerings or develop community engagement in close co-operation with communities, third parties in the care and social sectors and the health sector. Engagements that meet the needs of people and communities, no other agenda.

In many places around the world archives, libraries, museums, galleries, universities and organisations in the health care sector are working together on long-term trajectories, projects and innovative activities. Many of these focus on using collections or creative community engagement to improve the wellbeing of people as well as measuring and evaluating the impact of those interventions.

This conference wants to bring together, on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th December 2020 in Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent (Belgium), individuals from the public, academic and voluntary sectors to promote learning, discussion and debate around cultural interventions with the aim of improving the wellbeing and health of people recovering from mental health problems or people in a vulnerable situation.

The first edition of this international conference was held on 29 and 30 November 2018 in Museum Dr. Guislain. You can read a blog about it on the website of the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

Keynote speakers

Saoirse Finn is a PhD researcher at UCL funded by ESRC-BBSRC, researching engagement with leisure activities and its association with health outcomes. Saoirse recently co-authored a World Health Organisation report with Dr Daisy Fancourt on the impact of arts on health. The report has been awarded the Global Aesthetic Award and is the most downloaded document on the WHO website in 2019. Saoirse also has experience working on the delivery of arts and health projects, and is a network coordinator for the Arts Health Early Career Research Network.

Maxwell A. Ayamba is a PhD research student at the Department of American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham. Maxwell set up the Sheffield Environmental Movement (SEM) in 2016 to promote access to and participation in the natural environment for people from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK. He also co-founded the 100 Black Men Walk for Health Group. In 2013 Maxwell contributed to publication of the Imperial College's Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Explore Nature Community Environment Report - Exploring Nature Together which was launched at the House of Lords.

Frank Hakemulder specializes in the psychology of reading literature. His research pertains to the effects of stories on self-concept and the perception of others. He is assistant professor at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Utrecht University) where he teaches methods of audience research and media psychology. As affiliated full professor at the Reading Centre (Stavanger University) he studies deep reading in the context of a digitalized society, and its relation to wellbeing.

Robyn Dowlen is a Research Associate at the Centre for Cultural Value, University of Leeds. Robyn synthesises and summarises relevant research and helps make it as accessible as possible to the cultural sector. Her current focus is an extensive review of research and practice relating to culture, health and wellbeing. Robyn comes from a background in psychology, having completed her PhD in 2019 which examined the ‘in the moment’ benefits of music-making for people living with dementia. Robyn is also the vice-chair of the British Society of Gerontology’s Creative Ageing Special Interest Group.


The program offers a diverse selection of presentations that throws a light on the conference strands (see below) from different perspectives from people working on creative and innovative projects in a research or operational capacity. Coming from small organisations and cultural heritage institutions that are leading in the field of health and wellbeing. You also can participate at workshops or special museum tours.

Check out the program.

All the contributions for this conference are structured in the programme around the following strands:

  • Thinking Through Making
    There is a relationship between making and thinking and we know that mental wellbeing can be improved by immersing people in challenging activities. This is why making things is so important to wellbeing. Learning traditional skills in particular have a special appeal. In addition, making things can also be a way to reach people who are less able to express themselves in traditional group activities with cultural heritage, where communication is important.
  • Green Spaces of Care
    There are many inspiring examples of cultural heritage institutions that use green spaces or gardening as a framework for working with vulnerable people. After all, a green space is often the way for a community to come into contact with a museum in an accessible way.
  • Textual Healing
    Archives and libraries can use their heritage collections in many ways to achieve positive impact on the wellbeing of people and communities. Documents and books can inspire, make people think and can be used in all kinds of activities. Reading and writing in a heritage context can also have psychological benefits.

Follow the conference on social media via #CHMH20.

Conference exhibitions

An exhibition that reflects about textile heritage, slow crafts and mental health through the work of Claire Wellesley-Smith and Marijs Boulogne. A unique piece in this exhibition is the Bradford Covid-19 Stitch Journal. This collaborative 'quilt' was made by people from Bradford in Northern England. This community textile project, led by Claire Wellesley-Smith, largely took place virtually due to social distancing requirements.
Triggers are assemblages of object stories placed in the permanent exhibition of Museum Dr. Guislain. They're going to be collected from participants who took part in small trigger events in Leeds, London and Utrecht in the run-up to the conference.

Practical information

The conference will be held in Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent. Housed in the oldest mental asylum in Belgium, which dates back to 1857, the museum aims to break down the many prejudices that still define what is ‘mentally ill’ and what is ‘normal’. During the conference you can discover the permanent collection and find out about the history of psychiatry, as well as an international collection of outsider art or art brut.

There’s a very large supply of accommodation in Ghent.


Ticket sales are now open. Click here to register for the conference.

Important information

FARO is confronted with the COVID-19 situation. We take all necessary health and security measures to assure that our activities can take place in safe conditions. However, if we are unable to organize a physical conference due to social distance or other new health restrictions, we will organize an online conference with a reduced program. If this is the case, we will inform you as soon as possible. Your registration will still be valid. If you do not wish to attend an online conference, you will be able to cancel your registration at no cost and your registration fee will be refunded. In case FARO has to cancel the event because of these circumstances beyond our control or ‘force majeure’, FARO cannot be held responsible or accountable for any costs you made to attend this conference. For more information, please consult our sales conditions (in Dutch).

Wie dieper wil graven en op zoek is naar een sterk conceptueel kader, kan hier terecht.  Deze studiedagen, masterclasses en bijeenkomsten gaan in op de fundamenten van ons werk. Ze ondersteunen visievorming en strategie, of nemen grote dilemma’s onder de loep. 

Praktische info

Museum Dr. Guislain, Jozef Guislainstraat 43, 9000 Gent
100 euro (volledig programma) / 60 euro (1 dag) / 50 euro (sprekers)
Min. 80 - max. 250 deelnemers
Meer info

Organisatie: FARO, Museum Dr. Guislain en Iedereen Leest

Uiterste inschrijvingsdatum
Adviseur participatie | welzijn
Sectorcoördinator archieven
02 213 10 87

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