Art and design in the workplace

Call for Paper PAD#27

Guest Editors: Annalisa Dominoni (Politecnico di Milano), Irene Sanesi (BBS-pro, CCW-Cultural Welfare Center)

PAD Pages on Art and Design, Issue 27, will be published in December 2024.

Art and design in the workplace

Art, design, beauty, and culture can enhance individuals’ health and well-being – an assertion now widely accepted by the scientific community following extensive research and studies. This thematic issue will delve into the concept of cultural welfare, focusing on the cross-sectoral application of art/design and well-being. It will provide an overview of the close relationship between these elements, supported by scientific data. Specifically, the issue will examine the generative capacity of welfare and projects/collaborations arising from integrating art and design into “non-canonical” places, such as workplaces.

Art in the workplace is not an oxymoron. Recent reports and studies (e.g., “How well known is (re)known Italian contemporary art abroad?” by BBS-Lombard and Arte Generali, cheFare’s research on cultural venue mapping, and the experience of AWI, the Art Workers Italia association) provide a picture – likely incomplete but already indicative – of the venues designated to host art and design in their multiple forms. These venues form a complex network of spaces, including museums (corporate ones, too), public spaces (both indoor and outdoor), cultural venues (such as archives, galleries, and parks), broad cultural heritage sites, and art galleries. These places serve central roles in representation, existing as institutional, private, and orthodox spaces for display, exhibition, sale, valorization, and cultural production.

Moreover, a multitude of independent centers, primarily overseen by third-sector entities, embellish the realm of “off” spaces. These venues, daring to experiment with novel concepts, act as launchpads for budding artists. Embarking on the challenging and fertile terrain of cultural production entails initiating unprecedented participatory processes. These processes transcend the boundaries of traditional cultural venues, extending to locations like shopping centers, hospitals, stations, airports, hotels, and, significantly, workplaces such as companies, offices, and shops.

The integration of art into these unconventional spaces serves a dual purpose: it enhances the well-being of employees and collaborators and fosters a generative approach to projects and collaborations. This thematic issue will delve into the intrinsic relationship between art/design and health and healing, guided by action-research cases. This discourse builds on the discussion on cultural welfare reignited by the 2019 WHO Europe Region Report, “What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review”. This report establishes a direct correlation between engagement in cultural and creative activities and improved health and mental well-being, reaping benefits in soft skills. It is not a coincidence that the European Commission’s “New Agenda for Culture 2030” (May 2018) incorporated the intersection of wellbeing, culture, and health among the pillars of the new European cultural policy.

Similarly, art in “unorthodox” locations fosters collaborations, co-designs, and new interaction opportunities between cultural institutions, their stakeholders, and contributors. These interactions extend beyond the traditional roles of visitors and tourists, forming a more inclusive and participatory form of citizenship.

This thematic issue will provide an overview of ongoing experiences in unconventional venues, examining the underlying choices and aims of the commissioning bodies.

Theme development guidelines

1. The vision of the art/design duo in the workplace, beyond the canon.
2. How spaces change. How times change. How people’s well-being comes into play.
3. Cultural welfare: focus on the relationship between art/design as health and care resources.
4. The impact of art and design in ESG and sustainability reporting.

Abstract submission by email to 


Launch of the Call: June 2024
Abstract: 22 July 2024
Full Paper: 23 September 2024
Publication: by the end of December 2024

Download the call

Submission guidelines

Categorie: calls