Project information

Live and Learn

Live and Learn is a three year arts and health project which will see professional artists work with the medical and care profession to improve the experiences of people living with dementia.

July 2011 - June 2014

Charity information: Collective Encounters

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  • Need


    There are 750,000 people with dementia living in the UK and in ten years time this figure will have reached 1 million. Two thirds of these people live in the community and one third are in care homes. The use of art in the care of people with dementia is a valuable tool for enriching lives, and providing a opportunity for positive expression and communication. Although the medical and care profession understand the value of art in dementia care there are few resources to draw from.


    Live and Learn will draw upon the expertise of professional artists, the knowledge of dementia specialists and the experiences of the living with dementia and caring for people with dementia, to develop new models of practice in the field of arts and reminiscence. The project will develop, test and disseminate ideas and techniques in order for professional and non-professional carers to use them widely.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop, evaluate and disseminate new models of creative reminiscence with people with dementia.


    » Undertake development workshops between third age participants, professional artists and a dementia specialist.
    » Deliver creative reminiscence workshops for people with dementia and their carers to do together
    » Mount public performances by third age actors in care home settings and beyond
    » Deliver training, support and mentoring for professional and unpaid carers documenting and disseminating the work nationally and internationally.

    What success will look like

    Success will see the development of a best practice arts and reminiscence toolkit and evaluative document for professional and non professional carers.

  • Impact


    We will improve the life experiences of people living dementia and will measure this by monitoring the responses of people with dementia to the creative interventions. Success will see a reduction in feelings of anxiety. We will increase the ability of professional and non-professional carers to use arts and reminiscence techniques. We will measure this by monitoring their responses to the training. Success will see a 40% increase in the use of creative tools beyond the lifetime of the project.


    There is a risk care home manager's will be skeptical: we have responded to this risk by working closely with PCT's, NHS managers and key local health and social care providers to ensure the project is championed and promoted at the most senior level.
    There is a risk we will not recruit the right arts and health expertise: we have responded to his by developing our network of arts and health providers to ensure we recruit the best possible practitioners for the job.


    Over the three years project donors will receive two interim and one final evaluative report detailing the progress of the project against original aims and a description of activities. Donors will also be kept up to date with regular news bulletins and a practitioner online blog.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £38,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £19,500 Personnel Trainer, workshop leader, coordinator, dementia specialist
      £5,000 Resources Room hire
      £4,500 Resources Equipment, writing and reproduction of arts and reminiscence toolkit
      £4,000 Resources For mounting care home theatrical events
      £2,000 Marketing Project launch, stakeholder updates, promotional materials
      £3,000 Travel Bursary for participants and project staff presentations at arts and health conferences

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Baring Foundation £27,050 Guaranteed
  • Background


    According to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, 2007, Liverpool has the highest level of deprivation in the country, one of the worst records for migration and almost half of the neighbourhoods in Liverpool are in the poorest 10 per cent in the country. The city's health statistics make uncomfortable reading and Liverpool PCT has recognised this by launching the decade of Health Well Being, a scheme encouraging people to connect, take notice, learn and give.


    People living with dementia will engage in a positive activity and reduce the isolation they experience. Professional carers develop their professional skills. Local non-professional carers will re-connect with their loved ones and undertake a positive activity they enjoy. Third age participants will have a learning experience and a chance to strengthen their relationship with the wider community. Professional artists will develop their practice in the ever growing arts and health field.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Collective Encounters is the UK's leading company working in the field of 'theatre for social change'. Since 2004 the company has built an excellent reputation local, nationally and internationally for delivering high-quality work with the most marginalised and disadvantaged of communities. Since 2009 e have been working the field of arts and dementia and strategic links with key regional players in the arts, health and care sectors. The organisation also has a robust approach to evaluation.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sarah Thornton, Artistic Director

    Sarah Thornton is creative and joint-strategic lead. Sarah will also develop the project's quality and evaluation framework.

    Annette Burghes, Administrative Director

    Annette Burghes is the operational and joint-strategic lead. Annette is ultimately responsible for the delivery of the project on time and to budget.

Collective Encounters

I really had no idea that there were so little facilities for dementia patients

Audience Member, Now and Then