After you are two: exemplary practice in participatory arts with older people

Document type
Organ, Kate
Baring Foundation
Date of publication
1 March 2013
Older Adults
Social welfare
Material type

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This report looks at best practice in participatory arts for older adults. The findings of the report include that a rigid insistence on process over product can deny the arts participant the chance to experience the necessary processes that go towards making art that can have power and meaning for others. Further, an emphasis on memory work within arts practice with older people is not compulsory as an end, or a means to an end, or a measure of success. Tapping into memories needs permission and purpose and is best done in a spirit of reciprocity. If the memory capacity is weakening, activities which depend on memory may be unwelcome and stressful. The value of arts for participants with memory loss and dementia may lie more in the pleasures of agency and sensory experiences in the moment. The report also suggests the development of a specialised field of arts practice and policy, the value of which would lie in the extent to which it enables us through artistic insights to value and accept ageing in all its diversity and avoid ghettos and segregation without freedom and choice.

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