Becoming a Dementia Friendly Arts Venue: A Practical Guide

Becoming a Dementia Friendly Arts Venue: A Practical Guide

By Penny Allen
Alistair Brown
Professor Paul M Camic
David Cutler
Lucinda Harvey
Maria Pasiecznik Parsons
Robyn Sweeney
Esme Ward
Dr Hannah Zeilig
Alzheimer’s Society


This practical guide is designed to help arts venue managers and staff make the environment, facilities and programming of arts venues accessible to people with dementia.


The purpose of this guide is to help arts venues of all kinds become appealing to, and supportive of, people living with dementia and their carers. This is an important part of a wider initiative – the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. Alzheimer’s Society has taken up this challenge and has led work across a range of sectors to make our communities more dementia friendly.

With their place at the centre of our communities, heritage sites and arts and cultural venues have a major role to play in welcoming and accommodating people with dementia and their carers. Experts from across the arts sector and dementia research have come together to offer guidance on how to make this happen.

Why become a dementia-friendly arts venue?

There is a moral case. Everyone is entitled to participate in the arts. This is part of being human and doesn't change with a dementia diagnosis.

There is a health and wellbeing case. There is now good scientific evidence for the positive effects of the arts on the physical and mental health of people living with dementia (see Appendix)

There is an artistic case. Working alongside people with dementia can inspire creativity and motivate artists to produce great art.

There is a powerful business case. There are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this figure is set to rise as the population ages. This number, together with carers of people with dementia, represents an enormous audience that some arts venues might neglect.

What will you find in this guide?

This practical guide is written for people running arts venues of all kinds – large and small, urban and rural, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries. It covers:

Community engagement. All arts venues today will be familiar with working with a range of partners to offer the best possible service. This part of the guide shows you where you can find information and support to help you engage with people living with dementia and their carers.

Accessibility. Enabling people with dementia and carers to access and find their way around your venue is a key part of making it dementia friendly. This part provides advice on publicising your venue to people with dementia and making it a welcoming and safe space.

Programming. When looking at your programme, what factors should you consider for audiences that include people with dementia? This part provides advice on how to programme events and activities that take their needs into account.

This guide contains some great examples of successful initiatives around the country. They show a range of ways that the points above can be adapted to meet the needs of visitors and participants at their venues. You’ll also find a list of resources that provide more in-depth information about becoming dementia friendly.

This guide has been compiled by people with experience of helping arts venues to become more dementia friendly and we hope it will help your venue to take up the challenge.

Download the guide to read more

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Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2015