Creative Ageing Awards – the shortlist

We had a huge response to our call for nominations in our Creative Ageing Awards, and the panel had some very difficult decisions to make.  We were truly impressed by the many different projects and people who are all making creative ageing in Scotland a welcoming and inspiring reality for so many of us.

The winners of our awards can be found here, while below are the runners-up in each of the categories.

Ali Abubakar  

As a young man Ali ran a gallery in Maryhill Burgh Halls, Glasgow, and was inspired by the art on display to start painting himself. Art remained a passion until he lost much of his sight, as a result of which he thought he might never paint again. A few years on, and now living with dementia, Ali joined his local ‘Heart for Art’ group. With the support and guidance of his art teacher he rekindled his passion for art. “I was able to discover new ways of approaching painting which has been enlightening and lifechanging.”  

Maria MacDonell 

Maria recently returned to writing and performing, co-editing a book, co-performing a family show, playing Mary in award-winning film The Motorist and donkey-whispering Maude in The Proclaimers’ latest video. In the Edinburgh Fringe 2022 she performed The Not So Ugly Duckling (with Jo Clifford, Made in Scotland) and Miss Lindsay’s Secret which is touring around the UK. “There are always new roads. My escapades will go on so long as I do.” Maria is based in Glenesk in Angus. Find out more about Maria and her work through her website.

Scottish Ballet  

SB Health is Scottish Ballet’s health initiative. The dementia-friendly Time to Dance® programme is offered in care homes across Scotland, in community centres and at Scottish Ballet’s headquarters in Glasgow. Scottish Ballet respects the dancer in all participants and encourages physical and mental resilience. They care for carers too, offering development opportunities for health professionals and support for unpaid carers. Find out more here.

Vocal Chord  

Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust established Vocal Chord Perth in 2015 for people living with mixed long term health conditions, and their care support. Together they enjoy the shared experience of singing for wellbeing; learning songs, harmonies, warm-ups, and developing social connections. Vocal Chord is supported by experienced singing coaches and volunteer artists.  

Adarsh Khullar 

Adarsh Khullar founded the Scottish Asian Ekta Group in Glasgow in 2000 to support widowed Scottish women from multicultural backgrounds. A widow herself, she saw how women in her situation were often ignored or seen as a burden in their communities. Art and creative opportunities, including dance and singing, are part of a changing programme of shared activities. “I formed the group to show that we deserve respect, attention and continued love and support.”  

Tiu Makkonen 

‘Portraits of an LGBTI+ Generation’ is a photographic portrait series celebrating the elders of Scotland’s vibrant rainbow community. Photographer Tiu met the participants through the Coming Back Out Ball project run by the National Theatre of Scotland and All the Queen’s Men (Melbourne). Each collaborator was photographed and interviewed in a place that is local and special to them, with each image carefully composed to highlight the undeniable beauty and resilience running through each person. Discover more of Tiu’s work here.

Heart for Art 

CrossReach’s Heart for Art programme seeks to empower participants and promote a “can do” attitude that focuses on individual abilities. Based in Polmont and working across Scotland, they adapted their programme during lockdown to include support for care staff to lead creative activities in CrossReach care homes. There are now creative art classes in five homes, offering fun and creativity to residents, their families and staff. With paintbrush or pencil, residents express themselves freely and find new ways to communicate, building friendships and gaining purpose and acceptance. Find out more about Heart for Art here.

Elaine Kennedy 

Elaine is part of a small team of Community Engagement & Activity Co-ordinators at Wheatley Care in Glasgow. She organises and facilitates activities and opportunities for people to enjoy, gain new skills and improve health and wellbeing. She shows compassion, enthusiasm and tenacity in her work to support older tenants, especially so during the pandemic. She initiated a particularly successful partnership with Impact Arts which offered bespoke creative workshops that drew in new participants and ongoing connections. Elaine says that she feels “very privileged to be in a job where I meet so many inspirational people, while having lots of fun!”   

APSS Sopwith 

The Aviation Preservation Society of Scotland (APSS) began as a group of retired aviation enthusiasts in the 1970s in East Lothian. Since 2000 they have been building a WW1 aircraft – a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, which used to be based there. They have painstakingly followed the original plans, and it will shortly fly for the first time! Now set up as a charity, they have started to build another aircraft, and are also developing a number of new community partnerships to help them share their knowledge of the history of aviation in Scotland. Learn more about the people and the planes here.

In the Light of Day 

In the Light of Day is collaborative performance specifically developed for people living with dementia, by Director Magdalena Schamberger. It focuses on hands, gloves and gestures, telling a simple, universal story of love, longing, household chores, the wish for connection and finding one’s place. Despite the remaining challenges of Covid, In the Light of Day toured successfully to care homes across Scotland in summer 2022, using live music, movement, and very few words to engage the audience, who are invited to participate or simply sit back and watch. Read more about the development of the project here.

This Award is made in memory of Jill Knox who was the founder of 24 Carat Gold – an elders dance group based at Dance Base in Edinburgh – and a huge supporter of creative ageing and of Luminate. 

Dawn Irvine 

Dawn has made an incredible difference to the lives of people living with dementia, particularly during lockdown. Described as being “like an indoor fireworks display, fizzing and crackling with bright ideas and seemingly endless enthusiasm”, Dawn’s work in the engagement team at Capital Theatres during the pandemic saw her create an innovative range of dementia inclusive activities that for many were nothing short of a lifeline. Dawn has recently moved on from Capital Theatres and she continues to inspire all those she works with in her new role at bold (Bringing Out Leaders in Dementia). Find out more about Capital Theatres’ dementia inclusive events here.

Robin Lloyd-Jones 

Having written two books about creativity and productivity in the over 70s, in 2017 Robin founded Autumn Voices, initially an online resource and now an organisation that encourages and celebrates creativity in later life. Autumn Voices has formed a community through its website, showcasing and supporting different creative activities. They celebrate reading, writing, nature, food, creative hobbies and social issues, embracing old age rather than resisting it. Based in Helensburgh, at 88, Robin’s own writing and photography continues, showing that “creativity has no retirement date”. Find out more about Autumn Voices and Robin’s work here.