A4D Social Prescribing Conferences

Sharing expertiseaccess talks from professors specialising in dementia prevention, creative ageing, leaders in social prescribing, culture, health and wellbeing, people living the diagnostic experience and arts and health practitioners

“Towards Social Prescribing (Arts & Heritage) for the Dementias” (May 2019, Wellcome Collection) opened the conversation to advance social prescribing to re-energising arts activity at the onset of dementia symptoms.
To address issues raised from both the health and culture sectors, in 2020 we set up a social prescribing programme in the London Borough of Southwark, training for arts teams, medical students and linkworkers, launched at London’s Tate Exchange and ran a series of 15 museum-hosted conferences for each NHS England region, for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (See ‘D-IAGNOSIS! on tour, below).
Through A4D Best Practice Conference 2021 ‘A.R.T.S. for Brain Health: Social Prescribing as Peri-Diagnostic Practice for Dementia and report our social prescribing campaign to relieve the severity of fear and loneliness in the run up to diagnosis, reached its apogee.


D-IAGNOSIS! on tour –

Driving forward social prescribing as peri-diagnostic practice

To address issues arising from A4D’s 2019 social prescribing conference, we launched a UK cross-sector campaign image – “D-IAGNOSIS! Arts to Preserve Wellbeing – From Despair to Desire” by the art activist Jane Frere – was launched at Tate Exchange in January 2020 to help advance social prescribing to weekly arts as peri-diagnostic practice for dementia. The picture was to hang at UK museums to set up social prescribing links for dementia to reduce the trauma of diagnosis and enable people to override symptoms through weekly arts prescriptions – dynamic, effective, re-energising programmes at arts venues. 

Now that every GP has access to NHS link workers, who can empower patients to choose their rehabilitative social prescription, Arts 4 Dementia has been holding meetings gathering together leaders in academia, social prescribing, culture, health and wellbeing in every NHS region. The idea is that if GPs refer patients to link workers to choose weekly arts programmes early in the diagnostic process, by sharing cultural interests, learning new skills, the shock of diagnosis will be less, as they co-create dance, drama performances, discuss and create art, despite dementia, they can preserve identity and enjoy life in the community for longer.

Arts 4 Dementia has brought together leaders in culture, health and wellbeing, GP clinical and social prescribing leads, memory services, link workers and community connectors to connect those involved and drive forward social prescribing as pre-diagnostic practice for dementia. D-IAGNOSIS! hung at leading UK museums, who during the pandemic have hosted meetings by Zoom to drive forward the practice:

  • London: Tate Exchange (January launch)
  • London: The Wallace Collection (March, International Social Prescribing Day)
  • East of England: The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury, Kent (January).
  • East of England: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (December)
  • South-West: The Holburne Museum, Bath (February); DEVON, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (July)
  • South-West: Ashmolean Museum or Art & Archaeology, Oxford (May, Age of Creativity Festival)
  • South-West: St Barbe Museum, Lymington, Hampshire (June),
  • North-West: GREATER MANCHESTER, Manchester Museum (September)
  • North-East: TYNE & WEAR, Equal Arts & Tyne & Wear Museums, Newcastle (September)
  • Yorkshire & Humber: Leeds Museums & Galleries (October)
  • West Midlands: Birmingham Museums (November)
  • East Midlands: Nottingham Contemporary (November)
  • Scotland: Scottish Opera, Glasgow (February 2021)
  • Wales: National Museum Wales (March, Brain Awareness Week)
  • Northern Ireland: The Millennium Centre, Londonderry (March, International Social Prescribing Day).