Our vision is to be a leader in creating a healthy and equitable European city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Ministers Opens 'Culture and Arts is Good for Health' Seminar

Belfast has a dynamic, diverse and unique culture with strong engagement in the cultural and arts sector.  Culture, the arts and heritage can address social inclusion, strengthen health and tackle inequalities by creating opportunities for people to engage positively within their communities and in turn with their city. Arts and Culture in our city finds expression on many different levels; from flagship projects like The MAC and the Lyric Theatre, through to community based festivals which run throughout the city and throughout the year.

Participating in cultural activities enhances quality of life and has a positive impact on wellbeing. Research has shown the importance of social participation and the sense of belonging for health and wellbeing. In Northern Ireland there are sometimes mixed experiences associated with cultural activities but in essence, culture and the arts can be tools used to strengthen community development; encourage integration of communities; promote health and wellbeing and social regeneration particularly in areas of high inequalities and deprivation. 

Belfast Healthy Cities invited Finnish colleagues from the city of Turku, a member of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network to share their experiences of embedding cultural activities for health and wellbeing in the city. The Finnish city shared the learning and legacy of being the European Capital of Culture 2011 and highlight their strategic approach and current initiatives. A number of local examples were also used to demonstrate how cultural activities have contributed to positively energising communities, contributing to good health and wellbeing.

Speakers included Johanna Reiman, Executive Director of the Baltic Region Healthy Cities Association and Toni Ekroos, Youth Services, Turku, Finland.

View presentations from the event

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