CENL Event

27th January 2023

Webinar “Book exhibitions and wellbeing: how can they relate?” on 14 February 2023

Register here

BANG! – the CENL Books and Audiences Network Group – has organized its fourth webinar for researchers, collection keepers, curators, designers, educators and other professionals whose daily work is related to exhibitions and public engagement with documentary heritage, mainly various types of books.

In winter 2023, when public institutions are still managing the Covid pandemic aftermath and the shadow of war in Ukraine is looming over Europe, it seems a good moment to take a fresh look at the potential and possibilities of reimagining memory institutions and exhibitions as safe spaces for fostering wellbeing.

Keynote 11:00-11:30 CET

The webinar will open by a keynote conversation between Dr Diana Walters – the facilitator of the webinar, consultant and project manager in the fields of museology and cultural heritage – and Jolien Posthumus, representing the Museum of the Mind in Haarlem, the Netherlands, winner of the Museum of the Year in 2022. Jolien is a neuro sensitive mindfulness trainer, trauma sensitive trauma therapist and brings Mindfulness to the Museum. She is the first mental health programme coordinator at the Museum of Mind – the first museum in the Netherlands to create this position.

Presentations 11:30-13:00 CET

The webinar will address different dimensions of wellbeing drawing challenges and findings from recent exhibition case studies, research and policy documents.

Art as medicine

Prof. Tessa Kerre, Head of Clinic Hematology, Universal Hospital Ghent, Belgium

Medical care in hospitals is getting better and better. At the same time, there is a growing awareness that care should go beyond the clinical: healthcare providers are not only technicians of the body, they are also caretakers of the soul. According to hematologist Tessa Kerre, art can play an important role in this. Can books do the same?

Tessa gives us an insight from her (medical) experience and her work with patients and art.

More Light!

Inga Surgunte, Eduards Veidenbaums Memorial Museum “Kalāči”

With the project ”More light!” Eduards Veidenbaums Museum ”Kalāči” (Latvia) is engaging in a new activity. The Museum is becoming a place where the young people of today can meet the young Eduards and accompany him on a journey of self-understanding; learning about their own mental health and ways of building harmonious relationships with others. Highlighting the hitherto less illuminated parts of the Latvian 19th century poet’s collection, along with a thorough and modern analysis of Eduards Veidenbaums’ poetry, the Museum has created a new permanent exhibition and educational programmes that reveal the poet’s dreams and aspirations, troubled relationships with family and friends, fragile health, ideas of idealist democracy and equality, and, of course, his innovative poetry. During the summer months ”Kalāči” welcomes Wellbeing Residences, where artists along with young people explore the museum’s literary collection and create works of art that reflect mental health and well-being in the 19th century and today. The main target audience of the project is young people, their families and teachers.

Archive and Library Exhibitions as Spaces of Wellbeing

Peter Lester, Independent Researcher

This paper explores archive and library exhibitions as spaces of wellbeing. Within archival studies, exhibitions are typically framed as outreach and as sites of education and learning. In this paper I consider exhibitions as spaces of encounter with books and archives, and places to meet with other people. I explore Archives+, a partnership of archive services based in Manchester’s Central Library in the UK. Envisaged as a ‘third place’, the exhibition at Archives+ has been used to discuss themes around health and wellbeing. Through its participatory design, Archives+ gestures towards exhibition as a space for inclusion, reframing archives and libraries around the needs of their audiences.

From the story of a book to the story of a life

Ineta Vaivode and Anita Smeltere, National Library of Latvia

The presentation will give an insight into the National Library of Latvia’s “Senior Wednesdays” series of events. A good practice example of how to gradually build a conversation between a person and oneself, inspired by the library’s resources.

Libraries, along with museums, have long provided a welcoming and creative environment for seniors. They offer opportunities to take part in activities, gain new experiences and practical skills, and to meet other people.

Autumn semester’s Senior Wednesdays focused on books that are special in people’s lives. Through a series of activities, participants tried their hand at creating their own special story. As a result, a sense of belonging and of being heard among the participants was fostered.

Museums on prescription

Delphine Houba, Deputy Mayor of Culture, Tourism and Events Brussels

Going on a cultural trip on doctor’s prescription and at the city’s expense is now possible in Brussels, Belgium. The city and the Therapy Department of Brugmann Hospital are launching a pilot project called ‘museum prescriptions’. The project runs for six months, and will be evaluated in March 2023.

The project has two objectives. On the one hand, to give access to culture to a vulnerable public or a public that has little access to it. And on the other hand, to use the museums as therapeutic support to complement patient treatment.

The beneficiaries of the agreement between the city and the hospital are patients whose medical staff believe they would benefit from a cultural visit. The museum prescription provides for a free visit, accompanied or unaccompanied, to various cultural institutions in the city of Brussels,.


Presentations will be followed by a facilitated discussion between contributors and the audience.

The webinar is made possible thanks to funding from CENL. Participation is free of charge. To register for the event please follow the link here.

The Books and Audiences Network Group (BANG!)

The network consists of libraries with permanent exhibitions dedicated to book publishing, including the National Library of Latvia, the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR), the National Library of Germany (Museum of Books and Writing), the British Library, the Royal Library of the Netherlands (KB), the independent publisher Lodret Vandret (Denmark), Eduards Veidenbaums Memorial Museum “Kalāči” (Latvia), the University of Leicester, the University of Manchester, University of Cambridge, the UCL Special Collections, as well as a community of practice, including book artists, librarians, archivists and heritage professionals.

The task of the “Books and Audiences” network is to provide a platform to ensure regular exchanges of experiences within the book exhibition sector, to maintain interdisciplinary exchanges, and to explore and develop the capacity of book exhibitions to form long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with a diverse breath and range of audiences.

Contact information

Anete Krūmiņa
National Library of Latvia
Head of Exhibitions
CENL network group Books and Audiences
+371 20081304