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Heritage and Wellbeing

Contact: Elisabeth Punzi at the University of Gothenburg and Beverley Butler at UCL, London.

Material as well as immaterial heritage is of importance for identity formation, sense of connectedness, mental health and wellbeing. The overall aim of this cluster is twofold. Firstly we want to develop insights, knowledge and interdisciplinary methods concerning the impact of heritage on mental health and wellbeing. Secondly, we want explore and understand more about the heritage of mental health and wellbeing practices.

Three topics are currently in focus. Concerning the impact of heritage on mental health, focus is on; “The meaning of heritage and places for wellbeing”, and “Minority heritage, traumatic experience, narrative identity, and wellbeing”. Concerning the heritage of mental health and wellbeing practices, focus is on the “Heritage of psychiatry”, its buildings, practices and perspectives, and how inconvenient heritage should be preserved, or not. In this phase of the work, artistic expressions and built environments have been in specific focus.

Questions of heritage are rarely noted in mental health care, and we hope to raise awareness about it. People with psychological suffering and/or traumatic experiences are more than their difficulties; they exist in a context where cultural heritage and places can be of importance. Humans are connected to each other, to traditions, places, and thoughts about the future. There is however no straightforward connection between heritage, meaning, and health or wellbeing. Heritage, traditions, places or environments are not healing in themselves, such assumptions represent a simplistic and an essentialist view of human beings as well as environments. People from different backgrounds have different preferences, habits and desires. In order to understand the connections between heritage and wellbeing, we need to encounter the inherent diversity of heritage as well as of human beings.

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The project Judar och jiddisch i Sverige is a result of a collaboration between Elisabeth Punzi (CCHS/Heritage and Wellbeing) and Västarvet.


Consert and performance with poems by Anna Margolin


Page Manager: Jenny Högström Berntson|Last update: 4/3/2019

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