When it comes to the research findings from CTC, as detailed in our Policy Briefing, our work has absolutely reinforced that ‘arts and cultural participation supports the health and wellbeing of older people’ . This includes creativity that happens at home. Erica Harrison, one of the CTC co-researchers does decoupage, sequin art and takes photos. Her creative self has been shaped by her participation in arts and crafts courses run by the voluntary and community sector and faith-based groups, and she shares her creative content on social media (e.g. on Facebook). This extract from a film co-produced with Erica shows her photography. This example of her everyday creativity has even more value when it is shared and built on through social connection. CTC has had a profound effect on several of the co-researchers by providing opportunities to realise and extend their creative and intellectual selves. Fanny Eaton-Hall said “I need to keep my brain engaged. And I was settling into this narrow and narrower rut until this came along. And I feel more me than I’ve ever felt in my whole bloody life. I think seriously it has charged me up.” Although some co-researchers have been spurred on to seek and participate in local creative opportunities, Erica points to a gap in provision – she can’t find a photography group to join that is not ‘too techy’. One of our policy recommendations is that we need to build more creative, cultural and social programmes that are suitably tailored towards minortised older people who often face additional barriers to digital and cultural participation. We are seeking further grant funding to continue our work to support community organisations to develop their provision of creative activities. Shanti Sherson from our partner Wellspringsaid of the filmmaking training she did with us: “They have helped to extend the arts offer at Wellspring Settlement for older people”.
To see Erica’s film in full, as well as other films by our co-researchers, please click here.