‘Mental Health, Well-being and International Cultural Mobility’
As part of its pluriannual programme co-funded by the European Union, On the Move twice a year proposes Mobility Webinars to investigate collectively international artistic and cultural mobility. Together with partners, the network conceives these online sessions as knowledge building and peer-to-peer exchange, strengthening training activities and inviting guest experts to share their lived experience and views in order to help us embrace different perspectives on key transversal topics such as green mobility, inclusive and accessible opportunities, digital mobility, etc.
For this fourth Cultural Mobility Webinar, On the Move proposes to explore the positive and negative impacts of international cultural mobility on the mental health and well-being of artists and culture professionals. Many studies and cultural initiatives at local, national or European levels have investigated the various contributions of arts and culture to the well-being and good health, including mental health, of the population. Significant research projects have established clear and concrete evidence of how our field supports the sustainability and resilience of our societies, particularly when targeting vulnerable communities. However, very few literatures have investigated the well-being and mental health of the creative work force itself.
In recent years, this theme has gradually come into the spotlight when addressing other burning issues in the culture field: the impacts of gender-based violence on mental health and well-being, of the poor work conditions of arts professionals, of discrimination against diverse, parenting or disabled culture workers, of the psycho-social stressors of refugee artists, of climate change related anxieties and contradictory injunctions, etc.
Cross-border mobility is often seen as a key component of a professional trajectory, not only because of the knowledge and cultural growth it brings, but also because of the economic sustainability it can support. The international dimension is particularly necessary and important to the artists and culture professionals that don’t have access to such opportunities offered in their local/national ecosystem. They have to navigate the many paradoxes and tensions linked to the realities of cultural mobility: balancing work and private life while travelling frequently away from home and their family, developing financial sustainability while being dependent of foreign gatekeepers and funders, applying to international opportunities while facing visa rejections, fleeing dangers and relocating in a safer country while not having the recognised status or knowledge to operate in this new context.