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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Entelechy Arts and Queen Mary University of London share new report on the impact of remote creative programmes on older adults.

Identifying the art of well-being’ is the second and final report in this research partnership providing insights into the effects of remote creative programmes on older adults during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote creative programmes were shown to have long-term benefits for older adults' social connection and well-being.

Colourful envelopes with crafts inside

A craft activity done as part of the programme

A new report based on research led by Entelechy Arts and Queen Mary University of London will provide insights into the impact of remote creative programmes on older people based on experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Age UK’s Loneliness and Covid report states that before the pandemic, around 1 in 12 people aged fifty and over in England were often lonely, equivalent to around 1.4 million people, they project this will increase to around 2 million people by 2026. 

Remote programmes, if developed with care and attention can provide a social and well-being lifeline to otherwise isolated older people alongside in-person activities.

This report is the second in the AHRC funded collaboration between Entelechy Arts and Queen Mary University of London. This was an 18-month research project of Entelechy Arts’ ‘Staying Connected’ programme which was created and delivered during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The ‘Staying Connected’ remote programme is led by Entelechy Arts and the Meet Me… programme, run in partnership with the Albany. The programme consists of a series of creative activities that have been adapted and designed to be delivered in remote environments to help members to stay connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The remote creative programme included both continuous events such as Clusters, the Meet Me on the Radio show, delivered on a weekly basis and one-off activities all part of Creativity At Home.

The research comprised focus groups and longitudinal surveys were carried out in interviews with older adults who participated in the remote creative programmes. 

Insights were gained into the impact of remote creative programmes on agency, social connection, and well-being during the transition out of lockdown.

Key findings include: 

  • Older adults appreciated the varied creative activities which allowed for choice and agency. They were absorbed in the activities and re-developed or developed artistic interests from taking part.
  • Older adults valued the interactions and shared experiences with other members and became emotionally invested in other members’ well-being.
  • Older adults detailed the anticipation, positive mood, and happiness associated with the cluster calls.
  • Higher identification with the arts programme (Meet Me…), their community, and a person's age group were all associated with lower social isolation and higher positive mood.
  • Initial ratings of arts programme (Meet Me…) identification were associated with engaging in more activities and with longer membership with Entelechy Arts

Dr Janelle Jones, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Queen Mary said: “Our report demonstrates the benefits of remote arts programmes for the creative engagement, social connection, and well-being of older adults. Critically our findings show how important it is for older adults to feel like they are a part of a group - whether this is with other members of the creative programme or with their community – as this is what seems to be at the core of their experiences and well-being over time.”

Maddy Mills, Director, Entelechy Arts said: “During the pandemic, we developed and tried many different ways of bringing art and creative engagement to people's homes through phone calls, zoom, radio, postal deliveries and doorstep performances. Some things worked, others needed tweaking. There have been some powerful innovations developed from working through the pandemic, and the critical importance of continuing to bring art to people's homes in ways that do not always rely on technology remains. There are so many reasons people may struggle to get out of their house to participate in, see culture or access it digitally, or maybe they just prefer to engage from the comfort of their own home. Whatever the reason, there is an opportunity for remote creative programmes to become an art form in their own right with high quality, choice and a wide range of creative engagement on offer. Ensuring people at home can access, engage with and create art that moves them, makes them laugh, cry, think about the world, understand new stories and perspectives, and connect with others must continue.”

This research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation. The report is available to free to download from the Entelechy Arts website as a PDF.



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