Milena Castellarin from Cordoba, develops art projects that attempt to offer creative scenes for different health centres.

Generally speaking, we understand hospitals and health centres as hermetic places without space for initiatives or projects that are unrelated to health. However, there are an increasing number of ideas aimed at breaking down the wall between health staff and patients and from the activities belonging to other spheres.

With this in mind, and before deciding to turn Argentinian hospitals and health centres into warmer and more creative places, Milena Castellarin graduated twice. She studied arts first while later obtaining a degree in education, for which she worked as a teacher in her home country. “Everything you study and work with contributes to you, but if anything has motivated me over the years it has been the social and health applications of artistic disciplines.

The woman from Cordoba, who has already developed creative projects within the field of social art, was one of those selected to take part in the program Young Ibero-American Leaders last year. The initiative, promoted by Santander Bank and the Carolina Foundation, allows a considerable number of young people from Spain, Portugal, and Ibero-America to share experiences, projects, and ideas within the framework of a schedule full of official visits, workshops, and all types of meetings. “Sharing this with the other selected partners and learning from them, just talking about issues and topics that you didn’t even expect to encounter along the way, it’s very rewarding.”

“In Argentina I work with people who suffer different cognitive disabilities by collaborating with different NGOs on various different projects. I have developed artistic projects with patients and resident staff, and it’s very rewarding. You realize that it’s something very useful to them.” As a result of their projects, Milena has carried out artistic jobs and organized different workshops in senior citizen centres, has worked with patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and has contributed to decorating and filling with colours the physical spaces of a pediatric centre, among other things. “It is important working to humanize spaces for patients, in this case children, or staff. It is essential to improving coexistence in hospitals and clinics.”

Despite not usually getting the necessary assistance and collaboration from institutions due to the fact she is facing very hermetic spaces, Castellarin is convinced that art is an effective method to turn hospitals into more humanised and creative places, so at the moment she relies on promoting her objectives by increasing the tools available to her and through entrepreneurship. “Sometimes, we focus on moving forward while we forget the prosper we’ve made, but in my opinion it is good to be aware of what we’ve gone through in order to continue moving forward.”