From the abstract:
“Background: A rapidly increasing ageing population has significant consequences for the demography, health and wellbeing of our society. Participatory arts programmes and activities can contribute to health promotion in later life, by providing community-based, non-clinical opportunities for meaningful engagement and interaction. To date, academic research studies have mainly focused on people living with dementia and have investigated the benefits of therapeutic and / or musical interventions. However, little research has been conducted with healthy older people participating in other arts’ domains such as the visual arts or been approached through a creative ageing lens. Creative ageing is an inherently interdisciplinary field of enquiry, which sits at the intersection of arts and health and social gerontology and places emphasis on the role of creative engagement in enhancing personal growth, creativity and building social connections in later life.
Aims: This thesis uses a mixed-methods approach to explore experiences of participatory arts engagement in later life through a study of literature and focus-group conversations. The study considers existing theory within social gerontology, arts and health and the creative ageing movement in a conceptual review, providing the context that underpins the thesis. A mixed-methods systematic review is conducted to examine the published evidence on the effect of participatory arts on wellbeing, quality of life and cognitive function and to explore distinctions between engagement in different arts domains and levels of participation. A two stage focus group study aims to investigate whether themes developed from the review resonate with older people’s own subjective experiences of participatory arts engagement and to explore barriers to participation in the arts in later life.”