Thinking of health in terms of well-being and quality of life allows us to consider culture as a key element in achieving it.

Encouraging active participation

Health is an important and overarching target of the activities of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo: all three Goals – Culture, People and Planet – are committed to achieving SDG 3 with different approaches and tools.

In 2017, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo began to address the relationship between Culture and Health as part of its work on Cultural Innovation. The first result was the position paper entitled “Cultural participation, psychological well-being and health: Towards a new model of culturally-based community welfare” (Italian version) produced specifically for Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo by Professor Pierluigi Sacco.

In 2019, a map of practices, bodies and professionals in Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta (Italian version) was produced in the context of the relationship between culture and health by Fondazione Medicina a Misura di Donna.

Since 2020, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, in the context of the Encouraging Active Participation Mission of its Culture Goal, has been focusing in particular on cultural participation, particularly in terms on its impact on people’s mental, physical and social well-being. In the four-year period 2021-2024, it found a strategic ally in the CCW – Cultural Welfare Center (Italian version). Following its development plan for three years from its establishment in 2020, it identified some good practices in the area and is contributing to the launch of Spazio BAC  (Italian version) in Turin.

But it was the opening of an experimental three-year laboratory (2021-2023), the Cultural Wellbeing Lab (CWLAB), that allowed us to promote a pioneering multistakeholder design experience in the north west, carrying out research and training in various areas of cultural welfare, with a system-wide approach.

Well Impact, the set of initiatives developed by Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo on the relationship between Culture and Health, was presented on 23 March 2021 (Italian version) with an event available in the CSP Play (Italian version) section.

The topics identified

TOPIC 1 – Culture and primary prevention
This refers mainly made to all the projects which, by participating in the cultural offerings of the area, are intended to pursue well-being and primary prevention.

TOPIC 2 – Culture, care relationship and medical humanities
These are performance-related experiences (performing arts but not only), including training and experiences, which influence and improve the quality of the relationship of care between medical personnel and patients or care-givers.

TOPIC 3 – Culture for humanising places of care
Projects intended to transform places of care to achieve greater humanisation through culture (visual arts, design and architecture, temporary or permanent, etc.).

TOPIC 4 – Well-being and care in cultural institutions
Different kinds of well-being and care pathways created in the places themselves and integrated into the programming of cultural institutions.

  • 12 May 2022 – Webinar: Conversation about Culture and Health – How can care enter places of culture? Watch the video (IT)
  • 25 May 2022 – Workshop: The fragile bodyRead the programme (IT)

Projects carried out

Dedalo Vola
Dedalo Vola is a health promotion project that proposes cultural participation for healthy lifestyles and primary prevention. Alessandro Coppo of the Vercelli Local Health Authority tells us about it.

Verba Curant
Writing and storytelling techniques to serve the world of health: with Verba Curant, the teachers of Scuola Holden help doctors and nurses at Alessandria Hospital develop an empathic relationship with patients through the power of great stories.

Cultura di base
Cultura di Base is an ambitious experiment that aims to move healthcare facilities to cultural sites and GP surgeries to museums and new cultural centres. This proposal is discussed by Eleonora Gerbotto, Director of Fondazione per l’architettura di Torino.

Danzarte is a pilot project intended to view a work of art through the body: an advanced research process dedicated to people potentially at risk of frailty. Professor Antonio Camurri, coordinator of Casa Paganini-Info Mus (University of Genoa) tells us about them.

Culture as a resource for Health. From Europe to Italy.

In 2023, a series of online meetings was organised with CCW – Cultural Welfare Center to promote local resources working with European institutions to study and develop ad hoc programmes which received 2,100 registrations from operators.

Culture and Health.
A look to the future from the Well Impact workshop From the North West to Europe

The results and evaluations of the 4 experimental projects were presented on 21 June 2023 with a discussion to take stock of the situation in an international framework that is making progress in terms of policies, practices and skills.

Watch the videos (IT) recorded on the day with the main speeches included in the Programme.


Find more information about the project in the following documents:

This project contributes to achieving the following Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 3 Good health and well-being
SDG 1 No poverty