European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

The parable of the irreplaceable person

A dried flower
This article is part of a research about mental health and human resource strategies in cultural organisations.

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This article is part of a research about mental health and human resource strategies for cultural organisations.

Initially motivated by the outburst of the pandemic, the focus expanded to embrace the broader structural factors and a series of entangled dynamics that affect the mental health of culture providers. Digging deeper into some of the aspects that emerged in the first phase of the research, here we used the case of 'irreplaceable people' to unveil how a lack of explicit and transparent human resource policies can prove detrimental to the well-being of staff, the functioning of organisations and, ultimately, their capacity to fulfill their mission and achieve positive social impact.

To shed light on possible solutions, we interviewed two human resource experts from the network whose interdisciplinary experience embraces cultural management, psychology, and systems thinking. We then layed out a series of principles and approaches, actions, and structures to help improve the human ecology and the functioning of cultural organisations by promoting workers’ health, mental health, and wellbeing.

This publication also inscribes itself in an attempt at shifting the perspective on mental health and normalising open discussion on it, intending to raise the standards of care not only within cultural organisations but in society at large.

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