Artist's Residency in a Care Setting

Artist's Residency in a Care Setting

Nationwide artist’s residencies to improve access to quality arts experiences for older people in care settings

  •                   Research shows significant social and health benefits for older people who engage with the arts
  •                   6 new residencies to take place across the country in 2019
  •                   Initiative will reach up to 250 older people who live in or visit care settings.  

Age & Opportunity today announced the expansion of their Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting initiative, with six residencies to take place right across the country during 2019.   Age & Opportunity is the national organisation that provides a range of opportunities for older people who want to get more involved in arts and culture, sport and physical activity, education & personal development

Through funding provided by the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund, HSE National Lottery Funding (CHO areas 4 & 7), and the Arts Council, Age & Opportunity will develop six nationwide artists' residencies in care settings, at least one in each province. 

The initiative aims to make arts and creativity intrinsic to life-in-care settings for older people, particularly those who live outside major urban areas and in hard-to-reach places.  Each care setting residency has approximately 30 to 50 older people so it’s estimated that the expansion of this initiative will result in increased arts participation for up to 250 older people in care settings.  

Creativity and cultural participation are key contributors to wellbeing in older age.  Research has shown that arts programmes have a profound influence on the quality of life of older people in residential care, with positive impacts on health, psychological well-being and autonomy. 

Commenting on their experience of the Age & Opportunity Artists Residency in 2017, Clodagh Whelan, Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland: “The work of our artist in residence brought meaningful artistic participation to persons with dementia at The Orchard Day Centre. Dementia can be isolating but I observed this creative engagement empower the persons with dementia and ensure their story was heard. The collaboration with staff, family and friends ensured that this funding positively affected not only the person with dementia but their carers too.”

The Age & Opportunity Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting initiative, now in its third year, creates an opportunity for the staff and older people living in or attending publicly-funded care settings to engage creatively with an artist in a nurturing and inclusive environment.  It showcases the value of creative activity to the staff and broadens the base of skilled artists working in the area of arts and health.

Commenting on the launch Dr. Tara Byrne, Manager of the Arts Programme at Age & Opportunity, said: “Through the residency initiative we hope to foster an understanding of the value of creative activity, particularly in a care setting, and demonstrate and celebrate the positive impact of ageing creatively.  Through our mentoring and support we will facilitate both care staff and the artists to gain more confidence and acquire new skills in the area of arts and health. We also hope to push the boundaries in relation to new opportunities for activity, creativity and visibility of older people in Ireland, a key objective in Age & Opportunity’s Strategic Plan 2018-2020.”

Age & Opportunity invites care settings (day care, residential and hospice care settings) to apply for this exciting opportunity, with submissions due by 28th June 2019.   This will be followed by a call out for artists later in the year. 

Karen Smyth, CEO of Age & Opportunity said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding, which will allow us to build on our ongoing programme of engagement with care settings.  We know from our work in this area that arts activities can have a direct impact on the quality of life of an older person in care, those in Iong term care and those in a community dwelling but using day care services. We look forward to working with the care settings and artists to provide opportunities for more older people to access arts activities, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas.”

Age & Opportunity gratefully acknowledges the support of our Arts programme funders, the Arts Council, the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund, and the HSE.

The artist residency initiative is also supported by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), Creative Life, Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC) both based in MISA, St. James’s Hospital.  These partner organisations will offer their expert perspective on the artist residency steering group and provide mentoring and support during the programme

The deadline for care settings to apply for this initiative is 28th June 2019.  Full details on how to apply can be found here: 

The artist call out will happen in July and the deadline will be 8th August 2019

A information workshop on the residencies and application process will take place on May 8th, during the Bealtaine Festival.