“Susitikime muziejuje” dementia friendly arts programming in museums in Lithuania

NGO “Socialiniai meno projektai“ (SMP) is a pioneering arts for health organisation in Lithuania, aiming at promoting the well-being of various societal groups by making the arts more accessible. Our activities based on cross-sectorial partnerships include: arts projects (plays, exhibitions, performances and creative experiments), creative arts (participatory) workshop programmes, training and arts for health research and publishing.

Since 2014 SMP along with a number of partners (museums, social/healthcare organizations, Alzheimers clubs), started implementing a programme “Susitikime muziejuje” (“Let’s meet at the Museum”). The programme aims to build access to culture and arts for the people living with dementia, their carers and family members, to support their well-being, community and care relationship development. Additionally, by expanding the competences of educators, programme aims to increase the availability of museums and galleries to a diversity of audiences who face social difference in daily life and stigmatizing attitude of the society. "Susitikime muziejuje" includes training for museum staff, museum tours, workshops in residential care settings and the evaluation of the programme’s impact on the well-being of people living with dementia, their carers and family members.

According to the evaluation results, the programme help to increase the well-being of the participants (provided opportunity to engage in art activities in a safe, failure free and friendly environment; stimulated learning and self – expression in equal participation; increased self-esteem, helped to relax; participants learned new things about self/each other; experienced a range of positive emotions, enhanced participants’ mood while experiencing a meaningful and joyful here and now moment; increased a sense of community and improved communication).

“Susitikime muziejuje” contributes to the research in dementia care and extends the evidence that the cultural sector can play an active role in cross-sectorial partnerships development and person-centred approach in dementia care.