Apropa Cultura (Closer to Culture)

Catalonia, Spain
Apropa Cultura (Closer to Culture) is a social programme of 59 cultural institutions in Catalonia, Spain.

Its mission is to promote social inclusion through culture. Its main line of action is to make the cultural programme for the general public accessible to social centres that work with people at risk of social exclusion.

For this purpose the Apropa Cultura website was created to bring together the offers of all the cultural centres attached to the programme.

Social centres can use this website as a central agent to book cultural activities at a specially reduced price.

Apropa Cultura is directed towards people with physical or intellectual disabilities or mental illness who may have social problems or be at risk of social exclusion; women, particularly those at risk of gender violence or exclusion; seniors who experience isolation; people in custody; immigrants; children and adolescents; and people with drug and/or other addictions.

In order to become users of the programme, community centres need to register on the website and go through a validation process. Currently there are over 1,300 registered centres in Catalonia.

The theatres, auditoriums, museums and festivals that adhere to Apropa Cultura offer tickets to their regular activities at greatly reduced prices (3 euros per person). In the last year 16,357 tickets were sold.

When the program was created in 2006 it focused exclusively on attendance at performances.  

With the inclusion of museums in 2013, a need arose for the adaptation of facilities and staff training so they could receive the Apropa Cultura groups.  

Guided tours, dynamic visits or workshops require direct contact between museum staff and the visitors and these activities need to be adapted to each of these groups with special needs, regarding the presentation, the tour or the activity itself.

Common needs were identified in museums that joined the programme to better understand the different groups of people and to create ways of adapting their activities.

To facilitate the inclusion of museums, Apropa Cultura held a series of seminars to bring together the museums and social support groups.

In these seminars, specialists and representatives of social centres explained about each of the main groups of people, their characteristics, needs and even practical recommendations.

The main finding from these sessions, which included theory and practical exercises, was that those in museums need to generate empathy and to put themselves in the role of another to understand the needs of these groups.

Over the years, the Apropa Cultura programme has evolved. Currently, its challenge is to expand the range of participatory activities, where attendees can take a more active role in the cultural experience, either with other members of the public or simply through closed/specialised workshops.

And finally, Apropa Cultura also seeks to amplify the impact of the programme through the training of social workers, who are the catalysts of transformation.

The course Educa amb l'Art is made up of 10 annual sessions.

Each of these sessions is led by a different cultural institution participating in the programme with the aim of training the social educators to engage people with art on a day-to-day level. All the sessions follow a similar teaching philosophy based on experiential activities, theoretical frameworks and practical guidelines.

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