Combatting social isolation and providing older people with opportunities to connect with each other, express themselves and engage in high quality arts and wellbeing provision is at the core of our work.
We strive to ensure that the physical and mental health benefits of engaging in the arts are open and accessible to all, and work alongside leading equality organisations to advocate for and implement inclusive practice across the arts and wellbeing sector.
Our Inclusive Practice programme delivers multiple strands, partnerships and projects, focussing on supporting engagement across a diverse range of demographics and intersectional groups.
We offer ongoing practical support, advocacy and workshops aimed at strengthening inclusion in arts and wellbeing services amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, LGBTQ+ people, and socially-isolated and marginalised older people.
Strengthening BAME Inclusion in Arts & Wellbeing Services
The programme is led by an Action and Advisory Group (AAG), composed of representatives from a diverse range of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and organisations, to ensure that community members are directly involved in the strategy, design and delivery of cultural programmes across the sector. The AAG includes representatives from Decolonising the Archive, the Ubele Initiative, Latin American Women’s Aid (LAWA), Southwark Culture Health and Wellbeing Partnership (SCHWeP), and WellBeing SE15.
Our programme brings together arts and wellbeing professionals from across the Flourishing Lives coalition and representatives from Black, Asian and minority ethnic voluntary and community groups for a series of open and exploratory conversations.
These conversations explore ways in which arts organisations can improve their inclusive practice to ensure that people from a BAME background are genuinely engaged, and increase the direct involvement of these communities in the development of cultural programmes, and the valuing of lived experience.
A key component of the work is to ensure the fairer distribution of resources, so that BAME-led arts organisations can play a key role. In achieving this, it is hoped that the well-evidenced link between the arts and improvements in wellbeing will be better extended to BAME communities.
We have delivered six roundtables to date as part of the programme, bringing together major arts organisations including British Museum, Barbican, Royal Albert Hall and the V&A. 240 arts and wellbeing delegates have taken part in the discussions to date, connecting with representatives from BAME groups to discuss the outreach measures they currently use, identify potential barriers to access, and consider how these can be overcome.
We have developed inclusive practice guidelines, toolkits and resources from these roundtable discussions to disseminate across the sector.
Strengthening LGBT+ inclusion in Arts & Wellbeing Services
Since 2018, we are proud to have worked on a variety of inclusive practice projects and programmes for intergenerational and older LGBT+ people alongside leading LGBT+ advocacy groups and organisations, including: Opening Doors London, Stonewall, LGBT Consortium, Tonic Housing, London Friend, Haringey Vanguard, ELOP, Deaf Explorer, and London LGBTQ+ Community Centre.
In 2018, we devised and convened a roundtable focusing on ‘Engaging older LGBT+ audiences in arts & wellbeing services’ alongside LGBT Consortium, Opening Doors London, Stonewall, and Tonic Housing. 30 delegates from arts and heritage organisations – including Tate, Age Exchange, Alexandra Palace, and the Wallace Collection – came together with LGBT+ representatives to explore barriers to access to arts, health and wellbeing services for older LGBTQ+ people and share best practice in community engagement.
- Download notes and developed practice guidelines from the roundtable
- Download tools to support best practice
- Download a selected bibliography and reports
In 2019, we partnered with Opening Doors London to deliver LGBT+ sensitivity training days to 60 arts and health delegates, including representatives from Royal Academy of Music, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Peabody, and Camden Arts Centre.
We also worked alongside Opening Doors London, Haringey Vanguard, and Deaf Explorer to deliver a Uniqlo Tate Lates programme – ‘Age/ncy: Art, Ageing and LGBTQ+ Stories‘ – at Tate Modern in 2019, dedicated to exploring the perspectives of older LGBTQ+ people. 21 older LGBTQ+ artists participated and 588 people attended a night celebrating older LGBTQ+ people and advocating for greater inclusivity.
In 2020, we collaborated with Opening Doors London on the ‘From a Whisper to a Roar‘ oral history project, tracing the history and development of the modern LGBTQ movement through the voices of the women who lived it. We partnered with ODL to produce the From a Whisper to a Roar exhibition at BSMT Space Gallery in Hackney, using personal histories, archive photography and news reports to honour and acknowledge extraordinary stories of love, endurance and solidarity.
We continue to work alongside leading LGBT+ advocacy groups and organisations to support creative opportunities for older LGBT+ people and intergenerational LGBT+ audiences to connect, engage and express themselves through the arts.