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Press release

Creative Ageing: arts and older people

Over 200 arts participants (aged 50+), policy makers, local authorities and health boards unite this Tuesday, 29 March 2011, to celebrate the benefits of a creative older population.

Organised in partnership with Creative Scotland and the National Forum on Ageing Futures Group the event takes place at Perth Concert Hall and will explore good practice for, by and about older people’s creativity and the need to support and promote this work.

Working in partnership with the Baring Foundation and Age Scotland, Creative Scotland will be developing a programme for arts and older people over the next four years to address the issue of participation.

Creative Scotland is committed to encouraging as many people as possible to access and participate in the arts and culture in Scotland. Previous research (Taking Part 2008) found that older people are less likely to take part in the arts. By highlighting opportunities for older people to get involved in the arts this event is a step towards addressing this gap. The National Forum on Ageing Futures Group reflects the views of older people and focuses on solutions that meet Scotland’s needs as its population ages. Older people have told the NFA Futures Group that ageing creatively has both individual and societal benefits to not only health and well being, but within business and finance too.

Creative Ageing’s highlights include a recital by Scotland’s National Poet Liz Lochhead, who has chosen a selection of works especially for the occasion. Storyteller Jack Martin , will talk about his many years as an actor, comedian, bit part TV performer and storyteller to older people, with an emphasis on ‘laughter being the best medicine’ and Donna Rutherford who will give an illustrative talk on her KIN project, a performance which explores the emotional journey experienced as we grow older and our relationships with our parents change.

Two leading organisations currently working with older people in Scotland: Artlink, an organisation who work to increase opportunities for individuals who experience disadvantage or disability to take part in the arts and Art in Hospital who provide an extensive ongoing programme of visual arts in a variety of health care settings, will lead a visual arts discussion panel.

Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive for Creative Scotland said:

‘Our vision is that Scotland is a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-being of our population and this event is central to that vision.

‘The work that Art in Hospitals does in encouraging patients to express themselves through visual art brings a multitude of benefits. Age or situation should not be a barrier to taking part and, with an ageing population, it’s even more important that this generation finds its creative voice. ’

John Lieser, a participant in the Art in Hospital programme in his 70s said:

‘I think my early paintings were terrible but the artists encouraged me to persevere. I started out by just looking at the paintings in the books and sometimes I just sat there and looked at the flowers.  It’s difficult to explain the feeling that I got when they told me someone had bought one of my paintings at the Art Fair. It was unbelievable. I was choked up. I think it was one of the most important moments of my life. Can you imagine? Someone paid for one of my paintings, then took it home and hung it on their wall. Unbelievable.’

Yvonne Coull, Chair, National Forum on Ageing Futures group said:

‘Creativity should not be limited to hobbies and interests but can manifest itself in the business sector too. Many older people enjoy good health in later life and use their interests to create income. However, there are challenges to enhancing creativity that include transport issues, the cost of classes and assumptions and expectations about what older people like to do. Today will be interesting, exciting and dispel many myths about our ageing population!’

David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation said:

‘ The Baring Foundation is delighted to be collaborating with Creative Scotland to found a national festival for the creative arts for older people'.


More information: Sophie Bambrough, Media Relations & PR Officer, Creative Scotland, T +44 330 333 2000   

Notes to editors:

  • Creative Scotland is the national leader for Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries. Established in July 2010 , Creative Scotland is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) and is a significant investor in the creative sector, committing both Scottish Government and National Lottery funding . It is committed to working with partners across local government and the wider public sector, creative people and organisations, as well as commercial partners. Creative Scotland will: Invest in talent; Invest in quality of artistic production; Invest in audiences, access and participation; Invest in the cultural economy; Invest in places and their contribution to a Creative Scotland. Education, equalities and international partnerships underpin all of our work. Creative Scotland has replaced both Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council.
  • The National Forum on Ageing Futures Group is an independent 'think tank' formed to continue the imaginative, forward, positive thinking that informed the All Our Futures strategy. It believes that flexibility of approach, openness to new ideas and willingness to think beyond the traditional core themes of housing, health, care and transport are important. It is based at the Centre for the Older Person's Agenda, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. For further information and reports produced by the Futures Group.
  • The Baring Foundation is an independent grant maker founded n 1969 which has now given over £100 million. Its arts programme focuses on arts organisation working with older people.
  • Creative Scotland’s last participation survey, Taking Part, Scottish Arts Council 2008, indicated lowest levels of attendance and participation in arts or cultural activity during the previous 12 months amongst Scotland’s older members of society.
  • Artlink: Artlink works hard to increase opportunities for individuals who experience disadvantage or disability to take part in the arts in Edinburgh and the Lothian region. We offer practical support to get you to the arts and work with venues to increase opportunities to enjoy the arts. We explore how the arts can work for you through establishing creative partnerships with artists and create possibilities to get involved in your community.
  • Art in Hospital provides an extensive ongoing programme of visual arts in a variety of health care settings in the city of Glasgow and Scotland wide. Initially practicing within long term care for older people, Art in Hospital has diversified to include those being cared for within rehabilitation and assessment units, those with life-limiting illnesses, young physically disabled, mental health and outpatients, rheumatology patients, renal dialysis patients and those in need of palliative care.






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