Five ways to wellbeing. A graphic chrincle from two months together

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Teresa González

In a previous post we already announced the Art Gran (Elderly Art) project promoted by the Public Health Agency of Barcelona with the participation of 6 museums and cultural institutions in the city. The project, which aims to work for active ageing and to combat the unwanted loneliness of the elderly, was brought to a halt by the pandemic but finally in April of this year we were able to resume and it has been 2 months of intense work. In this post, and while waiting for the results of the research that the Agency is carrying out on the whole Art Gran project, we want to point out some evidence in the form of a graphic chronicle.

To do so we will be using the concept Five ways to wellbeing developed by the New Economics Foundation as a result of the commission, Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing by the UK Government (2008). The Commission identified a set of actions that promote wellbeing and health in people, these five actions are: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give.

After two months of intense work with a group of 12 women over the age of 65, they can categorically affirm that throughout this time we have travelled through these 5 ways of wellbeing, at first shyly but finally feeling that we formed part of a network of complicities, interests and vital circumstances that we are sure will be long-lasting.

Now we leave you with a small graphic chronicle that highlights this route with images:

Connect

Connect with the people around you, with family, friends, neighbours, connecting with your community; building these connections provides support and enriches everyday life. In the case of our group, the participants were all from the neighbourhoods of Gràcia and Camp d’En Grassot, they didn’t know each other, except for two who were neighbours, but at the end of the project all of them formed part of a WhatsApp group that allowed them to stay connected together. The challenge now is to help them organise themselves and keep sharing experiences that are enriching for them. The activities they have developed have made it easier for them to get to know each other by working together on a common project.

Be active

Being active means practising some type of exercise every day and discovering what best fits our needs, but it also means being active by communicating with the group or carrying out research on topics of interest. Getting around by public transport and not making them too lazy to climb the Montjuïc hill was quite a challenge for people over 65 years old. This, however, has made it possible to discover environments unknown to many of them such as the Historic Botanic Garden, to walk together and go for a good stroll and even, hugging the trees, awakening in them a sensorial feeling that many times in a city like Barcelona is difficult to experience.

Take notice/ be curious

Take notice, be curious, savour the moment, be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling, discover the beauty of a detail and capture it creatively on paper. Stop to enjoy a view, a smell, a taste, the sounds and textures that surround us. We have been able to practise all this by visiting the museum rooms and discovering the small details hidden in the works of art or taking a nice walk and listening to the birds sing or admiring a small tadpole that will become a frog in a stream of the Botanical Garden. And also by being attentive to what the city and neighbourhoods hide, rediscovering and knowing the historical ties of some spaces, facilities, buildings… with some of the artists represented in the museum such as Vallmitjana, Nonell, Picasso, Gargallo, Mir, Lluïsa Vidal, among others.

Keep learning

Learn new things and rediscover things we were interested in and had forgotten. Make connections between what I know and what I learn. Sharing our expertise that is welcomed and received with interest by all. Discover a wonderful environment like the Museum Library where its professionals encourage our curiosity and the desire to learn thanks to a selection of books and magazines that provide us with new ideas to develop in the creation workshops. Explore different artistic techniques without being afraid of making mistakes, of what is right or wrong, simply for the pleasure of experimenting.

Give, be generous

Give, be generous means doing something for a friend or stranger. Thank someone, smile. Feeling that you form part of a community. You can be generous in many ways and throughout the project generosity has been put into practice every day: the cultural mediators, Marina, Marta and Carolina, and the social mediators, Gemma and Clara giving their time to the participants so that they gain confidence while participating and learning new things. But the participants have also been so, with all the people in the group when they shared knowledge and wisdom or by providing emotional support to each other and showing enormous gratitude.

And all of this accompanied by good conversations, collected graphically by Marta and Carolina, in the rooms of the modern art collection about the works of art that inspired us, about how they connected us with our experiences, our memories and our wishes. Sharing expertise, building knowledge together, all in all, enjoying art and forming part of a small community of friends.

Marina Aumatell

Carolina Belén González

Special thanks to Marina Sintes, Gemma Jordà, Clara Camins, Carolina Belén González and Marta Aumatell, who have been the inspiration for making this path enriching and safe for all participants. They are also the authors of the photographs in this article. And to the participants: Maria, Roser, Núria, Marcel·la, Agustina, Mari Carmen, Rosa, Glòria, Maria, Mercedes, Helga, Montserrat.

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Departament d’Accessibilitat i Inclusió

Teresa González
Departament d’Accessibilitat i Inclusió

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