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Aleix Palau | 25 October 2021

The new season of the Apropa Cultura inclusive culture network, which celebrates its 15th ‎anniversary this year, will focus on dependent and/or isolated elderly people.‎

People living in care homes and users of day care centres and Alzheimer's or other dementia-‎related programmes have had their access to cultural events severely limited in recent ‎months. Apropa Cultura shifts its focus towards them with a range of activities under the ‎‎#MaiSoles banner.‎

The new season of the Apropa Cultura inclusive culture network, which celebrates its 15th ‎anniversary this year, will focus on dependent and/or isolated elderly people.‎

Apropa Cultura presents a new project entitled El Museu ‎s'Apropa in partnership with Barcelona City Council, involving 10 Barcelona ‎museums that organise visits to care homes and centres to bring culture to elderly people ‎who cannot get out and about.‎

Apropa Cultura celebrates its 15th anniversary with over 130 ‎cultural venues in 44 Catalonian municipalities, bringing culture ‎to over 2,600 social entities throughout the region.‎

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Apropa Cultura ‎celebrates its 15th anniversary with over 130 cultural venues opening their ‎doors to the users of over 2,600 social entities. The inclusive cultural network now operates ‎in 44 municipalities throughout Catalonia, and this year expanded its reach to the Balearic ‎Islands.

In order to build bridges between social and cultural sectors and make culture more inclusive, ‎accessible and diverse, Apropa Cultura has organised more than 363,000 cultural ‎outings for groups of vulnerable and disabled people since ‎‎2006.

The network is continually expanding and among the cultural venues and organisations ‎added to its list of affiliates during the last season included the Cruïlla Festival, the Museum ‎of the History of Catalonia, the Fundació Suñol and the Tibidabo Amusement Park.‎

This morning, Barcelona’s Teatre Romea hosted the annual presentation ‎ceremony of the Apropa Cultura season, led by the journalist Rosa ‎Badia and attended by Natàlia Garriga, the Government of ‎Catalonia’s Minister for Culture; Anna Figueras, the Secretary for Social ‎and Family Affairs of the Government of Catalonia’s Ministry of Social Rights; Magda ‎Casamitjana, the director of the programme for handling highly complex mental ‎health cases for the Government of Catalonia’s Ministry of Health; Gemma ‎Tarafa, Barcelona City Council’s councillor for Health, Ageing, and Care; ‎‎Joan Ramon Riera, Barcelona City Council’s councillor for Children, Youth ‎and the Elderly; Daniel Granados, Barcelona City Council’s Cultural Rights ‎Delegate; Ferran Mascarell, Third Vice-President of Barcelona Provincial ‎Council; and Ignasi Miró, the “la Caixa” Foundation’s Director of Culture and ‎Science. The presentation featured performances by Ricard Gili, ‎conductor of Locomotora Negra, and the Gili-Romaní Jazz Quartet, and was also ‎attended by representatives of cultural venues and institutions from ‎around Catalonia.‎

Watch the ‎streamed Annual Apropa Cultura Presentation Ceremony at the Teatre Romea

The 2021/22 Apropa Cultura season is dedicated to dependent or isolated elderly ‎people, one of the groups that has been hit hardest by the COVID19 crisis. Their ‎access to culture has been particularly limited, with vulnerable people such as these seeing ‎the sharpest drop in the number of cultural outings they have been able to make.

To address this situation, under the banner #MaiSoles, Apropa Cultura will ‎focus its efforts on people who live in care homes or who live in their own homes but are ‎users of day centres or programmes for sufferers of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia-‎related conditions. These are the people who have suffered most from ‎‎loneliness, an ever growing public health problem. Apropa Cultura plans ‎to join forces with its many affiliates to bring them some company.

Now that cultural venues can return to full capacity and a certain level of normality, Apropa ‎Cultura calls on them to take collective responsibility for ensuring that vulnerable people are ‎not excluded from accessing culture due to their personal situations.

Apropa Cultura is organising the 2021 Accessibility and Diversity Day ‎‎'Never Alone. Culture and isolated and dependent elderly ‎people’. This cycle of talks about elderly people ‎will be held at the Picasso Museum on 22 November, and is organised in partnership with the ‎Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, and will include participative musical activities. ‎‎An orchestral morning for Alzheimer's and other dementia sufferers in ‎partnership with the OBC, the OSV, the OJC and the OCGr. The El Museu ‎s'Apropa project, organised by ten Barcelona museums, will also be launched.‎

El Museu s'Apropa
One of the key new features of this season is the El Museu ‎s’Apropa project, a programme of activities organised for care home residents ‎by the museums in the Apropa network, set up in response to the COVID-19 crisis by ‎Barcelona City Council’s Municipal Institute for Social Services. Designed for people with mild ‎dementia who live in care homes, the programme is intended to provide stimulation, help ‎combat isolation and loneliness, and improve their mental health.

Ten Barcelona museums currently belong to the network: the Museu Nacional d’Art ‎de Catalunya, the Picasso Museum, the Museu de ‎Ciències de Barcelona, the CCCB, the Museu Frederic ‎Marès, the Museu d’Història de Barcelona, the Museu ‎Etnològic i de les Cultures del Món, the Museu del Disseny, the ‎‎Fundació Antoni Tàpies and the Fundació Suñol. ‎Educators from these museums visit care homes and organise artistic activities for people ‎who cannot go out.

Projects such as this demonstrate how much work there is to do. The challenge facing ‎Apropa Cultura, working with all the other organisations involved, is to identify the real needs ‎of vulnerable people and develop solutions to improve their lives. This requires more than ‎just opening doors: it also means going out to people to ensure that nobody is left out.‎

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