City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, takes a new turn


By Irene Brown - Posted on 22 March 2018

Now in its 6th successful , Scotland’s creative ageing festival, Luminate, has decided to move forward with a new approach. The shift will mean it becoming an organisation that supports and advocates for the development of work with, for and by older people all year round rather than focusing exclusively on being a nationwide festival. The move has been assisted by a successful application to Creative Scotland for Regular Funding.

Scotland has an ageing population, with a 53% increase in the number of people aged over 65 projected between 2014 and 2039. Research indicates the positive impact of creative activity as we age, and yet the annual Scottish Household Survey says that people over the age of 65 engage less with the arts and culture than younger age groups. Luminate wants to change this.

Luminate wants older people in Scotland to have the opportunity to attend and participate in high quality creative activities in their local area throughout the year, from dance classes in village halls to community choirs in local arts venues, and from photography projects in care homes to writing workshops in libraries. For those who want to take their skills further, a programme of activities to support older people who emerge as professional artists later in life is being developed. By working with artists, cultural organisations, community groups and care professionals across Scotland throughout the year, Luminate will have a positive impact on the growth and development of these activities nationwide.

In order to offer our new year-round programme there will be no nationwide festival this October, but Luminate is working towards presenting a biennial festival starting in 2019. To ensure sure the important showcase opportunities the previous festivals have provided isn’t lost, Luminate work will continue to be presented in different ways and at different times of year from now on.

More details of the new and innovative programme will be announced over the next few weeks. To date, a series of one-day labs for older people who are at the early stage of an artistic career in partnership with Magnetic North Theatre Company have already been advertised, and a dementia awareness session for artists in collaboration with Age Scotland, one of our founding partners is being run.

Luminate is one of the partner charities in Unforgotten Forces, a longer-term collaboration involving 14 Scottish charities and supporting older veterans in Scotland. Artists James Winnett and Gill White are working in residence in Erskine’s four care homes over a three-year period. Erskine is Scotland’s foremost care provider for veterans and their spouses, and James and Gill are working closely with residents and staff to offer a range of creative activities that meet the individual needs of the people they are working with. This is a particularly exciting collaboration for Luminate, giving the opportunity for an in-depth relationship to develop between a cultural organisation and care provider, and enabling personalised creative activities to be designed for the veterans and their spouses who live in the homes.

Anne Gallacher, Director of Luminate said, “I am excited to see our new, year-round programme emerging, and inspired by the potential it offers to widen access to the arts for older people across Scotland. The new initiatives that are underway are already reinforcing the value of our new approach, and in particular our collaboration with Erskine is allowing us to share learning and skills across both organisations. This is not only important to ensure the best possible creative experiences for Erskine residents, but it is also enabling us to try new approaches together which we can learn from and share with the arts and care sector as the work develops.”