Dementia arts is not reaching South Asian communities

Research by theatre company Spare Tyre has revealed that while there is growing awareness of the value of artistic activity for people living with dementia, this activity has not reached the UK’s South Asian communities in a significant way.  

The report Art and dementia in the UK South Asian Diaspora was written by Elizabeth Lynch MBE with Spare Tyre, and funded and published by the Baring Foundation.  

Key findings and recommendations from the research include:  

  • Lower levels of awareness and higher levels of stigma about dementia in BAME communities, despite an ever-increasing number of older BAME people living with dementia. 
  • The need for funders to work better with specialist organisations to connect with BAME communities, in order to engage and share the opportunities and benefits the arts can bring to the dementia care landscape. 
  • Smarter cross-sector working by arts and culture organisations to ensure consultation and connection with South Asian communities. 
  • To work with more South Asian diaspora artists and broaden the stories we tell about dementias to involve the people who are living them. 

David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation, said, “Reaching all sections of the older population – in particular those most marginalised – might be seen as ‘unfinished business’ for the creative ageing sector. We hope that this important piece of research will be a useful resource for arts organisations and arts funders to work with communities to share the benefits that arts can bring to people living with dementia more widely.” 

Read the report in full here.