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Interaction, Dementia and Engagement in Arts for Lifelong Learning

Working with local organisations to investigate best practice in arts activity delivery for people living with dementia.


The IDEAL project runs 2021-22. It is funded through a Healthy Ageing Catalysts Award (£62k). It is the first Newcastle University project to be awarded funding from Industrial Strategy Catalyst Fund (ISCF) organised by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The School Education, Communication and Language Sciences researchers Spencer Hazel (PI), Adam Brandt and Chris Leyland are working with Anna Goulding (School of Medical Education). Also involved in the project are Equal Arts and Sunderland Culture. These are two UK organisations who offer creative ageing workshop programmes to support people living with dementia-related cognitive decline and resulting social isolation.

Project background

Over the past few years, researchers, governments and social enterprises have become increasingly involved in the development of interventions to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia (PwD). Arts activities such as arts & crafts workshops and art gallery guided tours have been identified as one effective way to give PwD a creative outlet, increased agency, and a reinvigorated sense of social identity. However, for the artists and social enterprises running such interventions, there is little available training on how best to communicate with PwD in order to maximise the benefits of these interventions.

This project is the result of a successful application to the Healthy Longevity Global Competition.