Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsI think we're entering a really new interesting period with cultural commissioning, more and more councils across the country taking that and wanting to have arts practices and social proscribing to improve people's well-being. I think for me, a slight concern is that volunteers can do this work. And what's crucial, and what I'm passionate about is driving this is, is an artistic practise. Everyone who's working in this way, it's an inquiry, it's a process, and we're developing as artists in this field. And it's not something that can be duplicated. That doesn't mean that there aren't elements of the way that you work. And we aren't artists on high coming in. But what we are doing is a practice in and of itself.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsProfessional, high quality arts experience is absolutely at the core of what we do. And in terms of why it needs to be professional, I think it's because of the skill set and the experience, and that allowing of people living with dementia to be creative. Artists have a unique set of skills, I think, that are completely different to a teacher-- certainly a dentist-- that are about enabling a person to express themselves in a way that maybe allows them to take risks or to explore their sense of self without the fear of being wrong or without there needing to be a kind of correct answer, which is really liberating for people living with dementia, who can often avoid situations where there is a right or wrong in case they get it wrong.

The value of professional artists

Susanna Howard (Living Words) and Elly Wilson Wickenden (Creative Arts East) highlight the pivotal role that professional artists have in arts-based practices for people living with dementia.

Hear as they explain how artists possess a unique set of skills that facilitate those that they work with to express themselves, without creating a sense of being wrong - which is often liberating for those living with dementia.

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This video is from the free online course:

Dementia and the Arts: Sharing Practice, Developing Understanding and Enhancing Lives

UCL (University College London)