Over recent years, medicine and the health care world have begun to understand the importance of the humanities disciplines (fine arts, history, philosophy etc.) as new tools to “create health,” as innovative ways to cure patients, and even to rewrite the groundrules of clinical practice as a whole.
Medical Humanities outlines why art promotes a change in the roles of doctors, patients, practitioners and citizens, going back to the very roots of medical science – humanism – which draws on respect, listening, critical thinking, hope and solidarity.
In healthcare institutions, there are now departments which involve artists in the cure process; furthermore, these institutions have initiated research programs to study the effects of art on the mind in terms of understanding illnesses and their scope for healing. These neuro-scientific discoveries are leading the way on this journey. In hospitals, besides specific healthcare, you may also address a medical condition by telling stories, creating, painting, playing, dancing and acting.
As scientific research shows, the quality of the environment has a positive effect on the healing process and promotes a reduction in the time taken to cure patients. Especially among the female population, active cultural participation contributes to the prevention of a range of diseases, starting from heart conditions.
In 2010, the Government of Finland launched “Taiku”: a national art and culture program promoting health and welfare for the populations, in which the medical documentation of each hospital patient is backed up by a cultural project tailored to the specific needs of the person.
Also in Italy, the relationship between the arts and the health service has long been studied, researched and put into practice. Since 2012, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna has experimented with psychological and psychosomatic rehabilitation practices through the use of contemporary art.
Simultaneously, many hospitals and clinics promote actions and projects in order to improve the environment, integrating art into the everyday spaces used by patients to support and enhance hospital care.
The Sant’Anna Hospital in Turin, the largest and longest-standing gynecological and obstetrical center in Europe, is changing its approach through culture, with projects developed on a platform involving applied research from 10 cultural institutions, mobilized by the Medicina a Misura di Donna Onlus (“Medicine Tailored to Women” Charity Foundation), founded by members of civil society in order to cooperate with institutions to promote the humanization of the healthcare environment.
The 2014-2020 European Union strategy attributes a transversal role to culture, with a key part to play in a range of important policy areas, including that of healthcare.
It was on these premises that Nati con la Cultura (Born with Culture) was planned. The project starts out from the principle that art may serve as a powerful source of wellbeing, regeneration and creative strengthening for all human beings, right from infancy, and may play a decisive role in the development of their personality, according to the assertions of interactionist psychologists.
Ever since the famous investigation carried out by Pierre Bourdieu in 1969 (L'amour de l'art. Les Musées Européens d'art et leur publique), it has been known that familiarity with the museum environments in early childhood is an essential factor in the later use of cultural services in adulthood.
But how is it possible to bring together the world of young families with that of the museum? In what way may parenthood be associated with an educational opportunity that may offer potential for children’s future lives? How should the museum and the world of healthcare support parental responsibilities?
The Medicina a Misura di Donna (Medicine Tailored to Women) Foundation and Palazzo Madama have tried to find an answer to these questions, offering a path which connects a birthplace with one of the cultural symbols of the city of Turin, a museum project for the 0-3 age range designed to accompany the parental role.
Each child born at Sant’Anna will be given a Cultural Passport on discharge from the Hospital. In this way, culture may become an integral part of the child’s healthy development. While this project starts out from Turin, the aim is for it to spread across the world.
During the first year of the child’s life, the parents are welcome to visit Palazzo Madama free of charge whenever they like, and choose a masterpiece or a specific environment with which to take a souvenir picture, thus baptizing the child as a “citizen of culture”.
Nati con la Cultura will thus constitute the cultural welcome set aside to the approximately 8,000 children born each year at the Sant'Anna in Turin.
Right from the very first moments of life, Nati con la Cultura creates a link between the citizen and his/her cultural heritage. The passport, the family photo portrait and its sharing, if so desired, on the Museum’s social networking platforms, will be the first step in establishing a bond of affection and familiarity with the cultural institution, leading to its being perceived as a common point of reference that may contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole. Understanding culture in terms of ius soli, the birthright given by one’s place of birth, this project aims to bring larger audiences to cultural institutions over the long term. This project is setting out from Turin with the aim of becoming a model that may be adopted throughout the world, as a means of the appropriation of artistic assets.
Nati con la Cultura aims to to strengthen the sense of identity and belonging for new citizens, both those born of Italian and especially foreign parents, whose children at Sant'Anna correspond to 40% of the total births. A visit to Palazzo Madama, “heart” and century-old symbol of the city as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, may become for many families their initial experience and understanding of the art of active citizenship.
Nati con la Cultura thus continues and complements the project Matrimoni a Palazzo (Weddings at the Palazzo), begun by Palazzo Madama in 2009, with the celebration of civil marriages in the great hall of the Senate: just one of the ways in which the museum has tried to form a bond with their public, creating memories and emotions, to be passed on from generation to generation. Like the wedding project, also Nati con la Cultura becomes an instrument of social integration and development, “humanizing” the historical and artistic heritage of the city.
HOW IT WORKS
At the time of dismissal from the hospital, a health kit will be delivered to every household along with the newborn’s Cultural Passport and an invitation to visit Palazzo Madama.
Presenting the invitation/passport at the ticket office of the museum, throughout the first year of the child’s life, the family will have free access to the Palazzo Madama and be able to come into close contact with the art and cultural heritage to be found there. The first visit will also be marked by a small welcome gift.
Families are invited to choose an artwork or place with which to take a picture that, once home, may be printed out and attached to the passport as a souvenir of the museum visit. Families may also share photos on the Museum’s social network platforms with the hashtag #nativiculturali.
The passport also provides information and guidance to facilitate families visiting the Museum with children and to allay fears that some may experience on first visiting cultural venues.
The Cultural Passport will also serve to remind the child over the years that s/he is a “citizen of culture”.
The project was thought up and promoted by the Medicina a Misura di Donna Charity Foundation together with Palazzo Madama, which had already cooperated on research projects concerning arts and health at Sant’Anna Hospital.
After all, the link between art and science was one of the pillars of the Medicina a Misura di Donna Charity Foundation when it was established in 2011, leading it to focus on the humanization of hospital care and spaces. Over the past two years, the Medicina a Misura di Donna Charity Foundation, in collaboration with major cultural institutions in the area, has achieved an initial, key goal for the wellbeing of citizens, patients, family members and employees of hospitals: the refurbishment of several areas of Sant’Anna Hospital, which has now been transformed into a comfortable living environment, with works, participatory art projects and structural redevelopment which owes a great deal to the contribution of the community.
Palazzo Madama is a museum with ancient traditions, yet which since 2009 has focused its strategy on the theme of participation and socialization, promoting activities aimed at favouring public access and satisfying its visitors’ needs.
Nati con la Cultura is an international message which starts out from Turin with the idea of extending beyond the border. For this reason an image for the project has been created (logo and graphics by Violetta Pouëdras) which may be adapted to various local contexts, wherever a museum and a hospital decide to join together to implement the initiative.
The Cultural Passport and the logo are the characteristic elements of the Nati con la Cultura image: they may be used and customized without changing the basic elements of the graphic design platform with the promoters (the logo has yet to be finalized).
Nati con la Cultura starts out from Turin to become a model that may be adopted throughout the world, as deep form of appropriation of cultural heritage: an action network working on culture as an effective tool for a new welfare state, in line with the results of scientific research and European Union policy guidelines.
On September 13th, the Turin Museums Foundation and the Medicina a Misura di Donna Charity Foundation will present the project at the conference “Etica Globale e Pari Opportunità” (Global Ethics and Equal Opportunities), before the women gathered to celebrate 30 years of UNESCO in Turin.
The mayors of Lecce and Siena, candidate cities for the European Capital of Culture 2019, will also declare the start of the project in their cities. Many museums have also begun to adopt Nati con la Cultura, including the Education Department of Rivoli Castle. ICOM-Italy, the international organization of museums and museum professionals, also gives its support to Nati con la Cultura.
Babygella – a Rottapharm | Madaus Group brand –has long been involved in supporting culture for children and families, working with the Medicina a Misura di Donna Onlus Foundation and Palazzo Madama on the 0-12 months museum project, accompanying the parental role.
Nati con la Cultura also collaborates with Magnum Photos and the Eve Arnold Estate, who have offered free use of the set of images, Baby’s first 5 minutes, taken by Eve Arnold in the Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson (Long Island, 1959).
The project also has the support of the UniCredit Group, Jacobacci & Partners, M.A.F. Services and the Fondazione Magnetto.
To encourage the widest possible publicisation of Nati con la Cultura among citizens, the Institute for the Deaf of Turin will provide LIS (Italian Sign Language) interpreting services for the press conference at which the project will be presented.
“Medicina a Misura di Donna” Foundation
SCDU Gynaecology and Obstetrics I Head Office – University of Turin, Sant’Anna Hospital
Referent for Arts and Health: Catterina Seia, +39 348/3175060
Press Office: Pierpaolo Berra-Press Officer for Molinette, S. Anna, Regina Margherita, CTO hospitals.
The Medicina a Misura di Donna Foundation is an initiative promoted by a group of people aware of the importance of women's health and the need for cooperation with the private sector for the improvement of public health. The Foundation, starting from the needs and perspective of women, works to humanize hospital spaces, to reduce the negative impact on patients and their families of medical services, and to ensure the constant safety of women in care. The first project launched concerned the architectural impact of structural interventions at the Sant’Anna Hospital in Turin in December 2013, thanks to which the Foundation provided a complete renovation for the Hospital’s historic entrance in Via Ventimiglia. Ever since the beginning, the Foundation has put together a network of partnerships with some of the key cultural institutions in the area, which have accepted the invitation to contribute to social projects in the Hospital: the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts, the Philharmonic '900 of the Regio Theatre in Turin, the Education Department of Rivoli Castle Museum of Contemporary Art, Fitzcarraldo, The Turin Museums Foundation and Palazzo Madama, Artissima, Cittadellarte, Il Giornale dell’Arte, ArtePlurale, Magnum Photos as well as the high schools Aldo Passoni in Turin and Casorati Romagnano Sesia. With Rivoli Castle, the art project “Il Cantiere dell’Arte” (“The Art Yard”) was set underway, which with its ongoing wall-painting activities is turning the busiest spaces in the hospital into what are known as “Giardini Perenni” (“Perennial Gardens”). The artist Michelangelo Pistoletto also chose Sant’Anna to launch his international project “Rebirth Day”.
PALAZZO MADAMA, TURIN
Press Office: Daniela Matteu, Tanja Gentilini (Turin Museums Foundation)
Tel: +39 011/4429523 Fax:+39011/4429550
Palazzo Madama houses the collections of the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica (Civic Museum of Ancient Art), founded in 1863, and is a part of the Turin Museums Foundation, established in 2003. It is a historical building that has witnessed all the main stages in the history of the city, founded in the year 50 AD, such as key events starting from the Risorgimento, with the first Senate of Italy, to the recent Olympic experience. Since 2006, the year it was opened to the public, the museum has managed to respond to the needs of the community around it, through research, exhibitions, collaboration with other institutions, and educational activities on offer to various segments of the public. In 2013, this relationship led to the creation of a fundraising project, Italy’s first web-based crowdfunding experience, which allowed us to bring back to Turin an 18th-century china service belonging to the d’Azeglio family. These projects work towards the aim of “acting within the community,” one of the three key points of the 2010-2013 strategy, along with “accessibility” and “presence within the cultural network.” For the 2014-2016 period, the Museum has identified three new objectives: internationalization, the search for new languages and the development of the Museum’s public, focusing particularly on non-visitors. The project was conceived by the Medicina a Misura di Donna Foundation together with Palazzo Madama.
Press Office – Mailander