"While reminiscence has a role, we believe alternative approaches which focus on enjoying living in the present and exploring creativity and the imagination need to be embraced."


A recent report by the all-party parliamentary group for arts, health and wellbeing takes in two years of research into the impact of arts on health. Read the highlights here.

We're teaming up with cultural venues across the UK and Europe to help transform access to arts for those living with dementia.

With initial funding of £200,000 we developed Creative Age, a pioneering initiative leading the way in dementia-friendly arts sessions.

Celebrating the creative abilities of those involved, venues take part in Creative Age Challenge, a week of awareness, raising funds for further creative programme.

Find out more about Creative Age Challenge

Join here

Creative Age Durham has arrived!

This summer we've teamed up with cultural venues in County Durham to provide the free, creative sessions to people living with dementia and their carers. Funded by Arts Council England, you can get involved in the project at:

  • Barn at Easington (with East Durham Creates)  - Fridays, 1pm - 3pm. Contact Cat Jarman at cat@eastdurhamcreaties.co.uk
  • Durham Oritental Museum - Wednesdays, 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Contact Charlotte Spink on 0191 334 5694 or email oriental.museum@durham.ac.uk
  • The Bowes Museum  - Day and time to be confirmed. Please contact Julia Dunn to register your interest at julia.dunn@thebowesmuseum.org.uk


You can get involved in Creative Age sessions at venues including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima),Hatton Gallery in Newcastle and National Glass Centre and Arts Centre Washington, both in Sunderland.

There are also Creative Age projects taking place weekly at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, and from this autumn, Northern Print in Newcastle.

An inclusive project, Creative Age offers friendly and informal creative sessions for older people with dementia, long-term health conditions and their carers.

"My mum received a diagnosis of frontal temporal dementia. Creative Age gives mum confidence in a really positive way. I can't put into words what it means to her and the family. Life can be tough for her when she is constantly 'wrong' or doesn't know what to do. I love to speak to mum on a Tuesday. I hear her excitement as she recounts what she has done.
"I just feel as though the group and activities were tailor made for her. They seem to challenge her and tap into her inner most resources without over-whelming her."


Creative Age sessions are held at:

Baltic, Gateshead, on Mondays 10.30am - 12.30pm. Telephone the Learning Team on 0191 4404919 or Email Vicky Sturrs vickys@balticmill.com

Abbott Hall, Kendal, on the first Tuesday of the month 2pm - 4pm. Telephone Shannon Quigley to book a place on 01539 722464


Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, on the first Wednesday of the month 2-4pm. Telephone Zoe Allen on 0191 277 8885 or email Zoe.Allen@twmuseums.org.uk 


Mima, Middlesbrough, on Thursdays, 1pm - 3pm. Telephone Claire Pounder on 01642 046953 


National Glass Centre, Sunderland, on Thursdays 2pm - 4pm. Telephone Rachel Groves 0191 515 5523

Arts Centre Washington on Thursdays 1.30pm - 3.30pm and Fridays 1:30-3:30pm.  Telephone Matthew Blyth on 0191 561 3458 

Or contact us on 0191 261 1619 for more information.

Dementia and Creativity

This initiative is a huge step forward for the North East in terms of providing arts provision for those with dementia, their families and carers.

Figures show there are more than 30,000 people living in the North East living with dementia with this number set to rise to over 40,000 by 2021.

There is a growing understanding that creativity is intact long after other cognitive functions decline.

Creative Age sessions are inclusive, friendly and focus instead more on people’s imagination and ideas. They are about what the individual can do now, in a particular moment.

We believe this is an ideal opportunity to encourage arts venues in the North East to widen their offer for people with dementia.

"Being creative has made me realise that when you get down this is the sort of thing you should be doing and I had stopped because I wasn’t well."
"Instead I was concerned about remembering to keep things tidy and not forgetting how you do things. Now I know if there is something you like doing, that is more important. It has helped me turn back to the things I used to enjoy. I had just stopped but now I have that enthusiasm back."Joycelyn Grieves, 81, Creative Age participant at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland.

Creative Age Challenge

Offering an alternative to physical fundraising challenges, Creative Age Challanges are inspired by those who take part in our daily Creative Age Sessions.

Led by the interests of older people with dementia and their carers, each venue signed up to the initiative will set their own creative challange helping engage the community and raise proceeds to fund creative opportunities for older people.

In 2018 Lakeland Arts' Abbott Hall they had a yarn-tastic time with their community wool gathering. The Handmade Herd Creative Age Challenge raised over £1,000 with schools, older people and community groups all making handmade sheep to be auctioned.

Find out more about the challenge here.


We are offering training for artists interested in finding out more about using the Imagination Model when working with people living with dementia.

To find out more about our upcoming training for artists or to run your own Dementia and Imagination Training session for artists and staff please email kate@equalarts.org.uk or telephone us here at 0191 261 1619.

Please help us fund more projects