At the heart of our Inquiry lies a question: how can arts organisations better fulfil their civic role? The question is not born from mere curiosity but from ambition; one consistent with the work of the Foundation over decades(see a list of previous UK Branch work at the back of this report). This ambition comes from a belief in the benefit that participation in the arts confers on all of us – validating our stories and creating new ones – and in the potential of the arts in a changing world to bridge diverse communities and renew the bonds between us.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW) was formed in 2014 and aims to improve awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing. During 2015–17, the APPGAHW conducted an Inquiry into practice and research in the arts in health and social care, with a view to making recommendations to improve policy and practice. Our partners in this Inquiry have been the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, King’s College London, the Royal Society for Public Health and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
The ‘Keep Singing, Keepsake Project’ (KKP) worked with older people in residential and community settings via a weekly group singing session. It aimed to strengthen social ties, reduce loneliness, improve emotional wellbeing for participants and promoting intergenerational performance. Following a literature review, focus group, two case studies and 19 interviews, researchers felt they met their aim. KKP helped participants to relax, breathe better and in some cases provides respite from serious illness.
Age UK’s Wellbeing Index finds that age isn’t a barrier to living well. The Wellbeing in Later Life Index, developed by Age UK and the University of Southampton, analysed data from 15,000 people aged 60 and over to measure the wellbeing of the UK’s older population. It looked at how people were doing in different aspects of their lives under five key areas – social, personal, health, financial and environmental. Overall it showed there is no ‘magic bullet’ for positive wellbeing in later life and that instead, a whole host of factors under each of the key areas play a part in contributing to a person’s overall sense of wellbeing.
Youth has never necessarily been the pinnacle of an artistic career as the British Museum’s Hokusai – beyond the wave exhibition clearly shows. David Cutler reflects on how galleries, museums and arts organisations are widening opportunities for more of us to carry on participating in the visual arts into later age.
David Cutler of Baring Foundation reports, 'I have been asking myself this question after participating in the excellent conference at the stunningly beautiful new Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on 6th April. The conference was organised by the Arts Council Wales and Age Cymru with financial support from the Baring Foundation. It culminated with a strong endorsement from Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure. The day showcased arts activity from the length and breadth of the country, but clearly showed that practitioners did not want to rest on their laurels but see how this could be improved.
A report by Glaswegian artist Sharon Goodlet, based on findings from research trips to Australia and the USA. Sharon’s travels were enabled by a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship Award.
“What is the quality of life if it is devoid and deprived of culture, arts, libraries, museums and archaeology—the very things that open our minds and give us reasons to learn and live? Yet this is exactly what some local authorities and funders are having to face: difficult choices, creating a concept of basic services that will be supported and others which will not. I do not accept that concept.” Lord Cashman.
Live Music Now was founded 40 years ago by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker CBE in 1977. During that time, we have given over 70,000 interactive music sessions throughout the UK, reaching over 2.5 million people. LMN’s specialist musicians have witnessed remarkable scenes as children, older people and hospital patients have been affected by their music. There is a greater need than ever before for LMN’s work. Throughout the country, there are increasing numbers of older people living with dementia or being affected by loneliness - whether they are living independently, in care homes or in hospital. There are also great challenges faced by children with special educational needs and their families. However, there is growing recognition amongst academics and leaders in the care and education sectors that music programmes can provide measurable clinical and social benefits, whilst also providing great joy for those hardest to reach.
The Baring Foundation’s Director, David Cutler, considers the growth in theatre for and by older people.
In April last year, Hat Fair Winchester requested pitches responding to the city council’s call for a creative project celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday Party. As a company, we love projects that play with theatrical conventions, break down barriers and invite the audience into the performance space but this piece was different. It had to involve older people and have a discussion about their lives at its heart. This was new territory for us.
Blog by David Cutler, Director, The Baring Foundation 22/02/2017 Age UK has brought out its first Index of Wellbeing in Later Life. ‘Wellbeing’ is hard to define but elements include, a pleasurable life, sense of purpose, independence and dignity – in other words the life that we would want for ourselves and therefore the life everyone else deserves too.
This report explains why the Baring Foundation funds arts and older people activity and what it has supported for the first five years of the programme.
This report updates Joe Randall’s ground-breaking paper for the Foundation on digital arts and older people. Based on interviews with artists and ten new case studies it looks at new opportunities such as self-directed activity, personalised care and scaling up of work.
This guide has been produced by a working group chaired by David Cutler, the Director of the Baring Foundation. It has been written by a group of people with practical experience of making arts and cultural venues dementia friendly
This report, by Kate Organ, maps the growing phenomenon of Older People’s Theatre Companies throughout the UK and puts this exciting development in the context of broader developments in older people’s participation in professional and amateur theatre.
This publication, edited by Daniel Baker, from Cubitt largely draws together a series of contributions to a one day conference funded by the Baring Foundation in 2014.
Not So Cut Off is a new publication from the Arts Council Northern Ireland funded by the Baring Foundation. It gathers evidence from case studies funded by our joint Arts and Older People project on the benefits of participation in the arts for isolated older people.
West Yorkshire Playhouse has been leading the way in dementia-friendly performances. We have funded this new in-depth guide based on their unique experience to inspire more venues to take up this opportunity across the UK.
The Baring Foundation has had a three year collaboration with colleagues in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Along with a call to action and essays from experts this publication gives a rich series of case studies from the four countries themed by practice, research, training and policy.
House of Memories is an award-winning training programme, which supports the carers of people living with dementia. It provides participants with information about dementia and equips them with the practical skills and knowledge to facilitate a positive quality of life experience for people living with dementia. Find out more about the House of Memories programme.
This report is an evaluation of a pilot programme.
Good mental health is key to achieving our potential, as it contributes to good physical health, relationships, education and work. In the UK, mental health problems affect one in four adults every year and account for 23% of the total burden of disease, yet only 13% of the NHS budget is allocated to their treatment. Considering this, alongside the large economic burden of mental illness (estimated as up to £100 billion annually in England), the clinical and economic need to invest in improving our nation’s mental health is evident.
This report outlines the processes and findings of an investigation into the value of cultural practices in engendering social capital and health and wellbeing in three coastal towns undergoing culture-led regeneration.
Together with our working group members, our investigation into singing in care homes has created and amassed a large amount of material. We have distilled our learnings from this material into these 10 Headlines.
The aim of the project was to captures peoples’ imaginations through a campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of creativity for mental wellbeing.
A report to the Department for Culture Media and Sport
This prospectus produced jointly by the Department of Health and Arts Council England celebrates and promotes the benefits of the arts in improving everyone’s wellbeing, health and healthcare, and its role in supporting those who work in and with the National Health Service. The prospectus shows that the arts can, and do, make a major contribution to key health and wider community issues.
A new report, published by Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University on Thursday 12 February 2015, reveals that engaging with the arts and culture generally has a positive long-term effect on health and wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Index report, from Age UK and the University of Southampton, found that while many factors combine to create wellbeing, keeping engaged in social and cultural activities, being financially secure and taking exercise helps people feel good as they age.
Churchill Fellowship Film
This report shows many health and care services in England are providing good quality care, despite a challenging environment, but substantial variation remains.
The research could still use an upgrade in many areas. But what we know so far should cheer any arts advocate.
Some time ago Aesop identified the need for an evaluation framework for arts for health and wellbeing. A version for researchers was developed and published in the international journal, Arts and Health, in 2014. Thanks to a commission from Public Health England, a version for practitioners is now available.
Happy feet: how a dance prescription saved my life...
Too many urban spaces are daunting to older people. But Lyon and Manchester show that they needn’t be.
Registration now open “Demography, Ageing and Health” 26-28 September 2017, University of Oxford
Being 'creative' and 'open' boosts wellbeing in later life Age UK's Wellbeing Index finds that age isn't a barrier to living well. The Wellbeing in Later Life Index, developed by Age UK and the University of Southampton, analysed data from 15,000 people aged 60 and over to measure the wellbeing of the UK's older population. Interestingly however, the Index found that taking part in 'creative activities' such as the arts had the most direct influence in improving a person's wellbeing in later life. The activities that older people took part in included dancing, playing a musical instrument, visiting museums, photography, singing, painting and writing.
A personal account of the 2016 Art of Good Health and Wellbeing conference in Sydney by Evan Dawson, Executive Director of Live Music Now
This new guide from the US outlines ways to reconcile the field-specific vocabularies used in the arts and health research; identifies study goals and methods for engaging community members as equal partners in a research project; and highlights the benefits of partnering for arts professionals and researchers.
Moving Memory Dance Theatre use movement, music, spoken word and digital projection as ways of revealing and presenting peoples’ stories.
A new book by Dovrat Harel.
An estimated 5.4 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical trials and other research are in the works to figure out what causes it and what can potentially limit its effects. Music therapy is considered to be a method of dealing with Alzheimer’s, without truly treating or curing it. And there’s more work being done in the area of art therapy.
This book shows that global population ageing is an opportunity to improve the quality of human life rather than a threat to economic competitiveness and stability. It describes the concept of the creative ageing policy as a mix of the silver economy, the creative economy, and the social and solidarity economy for older people.
Economic Foundations for Creative Aging Policy offers public policy ideas to construct positive answers for ageing populations. This
This report advocates the use of arts as a means to achieving excellence in the care home environment.
When the musician Hannah Peel began to lose her gran to dementia, she fought back – with song. The results were so overwhelming, they grew into a vast musical exploration.
Dementia toolkit for small and medium sized museums.
It has been shown that participating in arts activities is extremely beneficial for older people with dementia, improving such things as communication, memory, enjoyment of life and creative thinking. Read the Baring Report for more details.
Canadian psychologists from McGill niversity have shown that the neurochemical benefits of music can boost the body’s immune system, reduce anxiety, and help regulate mood.
This document provides effective ways to document and evaluate arts projects and programmes that seek to improve health and wellbeing.
Evaluating the impact of dance activities for people in different stages of dementia.
Read the latest report on the impact of a project in Oxfordshire that provides book groups for over-60s as a means of combatting loneliness, lack of stimulation and social isolation.
The Carnegie UK Trust is seeking information on the approach of different cities around the world to wellbeing. The Trust has published guidance for cities looking to develop approaches to improving the wellbeing of their populations and is now seeking examples of good practice.
Demands are increasing on health and social care. State of Care – our annual overview of health and social care in England – looks at the trends, highlights examples of good and outstanding care, and identifies factors that maintain high-quality care.
The Acting Up report documents the value of older people focusing on activities to keep themselves mentally & physically connected and the importance of promoting a positive image of older adults and their value in building healthy and equal communities.
This important document by the Alzheimer's Society was written by a group of practitioners chaired by the Baring Foundation and comes with the endorsement of the Arts Council England. It is written to be relevant for venues big and small and across all art forms.
The Age of Creativity is a network of professionals and organisations that thrives by working in partnership. If you’re specialism is policy and your work supports older people to enjoy improved health, wellbeing and quality of life through the arts and culture, then your website could feature here for free. If you provide information on your website that our national network could benefit from then we really need to connect up so get in touch today.”