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Ageing Creatively

Alzheimer’s Society Groups take inspiration from the National Gallery’s Old Master paintings

Issued November 2010

 A collaborative project to help people with dementia engage with art took place this autumn in London, facilitated by the National Gallery for Alzheimer’s Society. The project was organised and funded by Credit Suisse who partner with the National Gallery, and support Alzheimer’s Society through the UK Charity of the Year 2010 programme.

The innovative project was part of the National Gallery’s outreach programme. It consisted of a series of practical art workshops, titled Ageing Creatively, which were delivered in the London boroughs of Hounslow and Tower Hamlets, followed by a visit to the National Gallery. The aim was to encourage people with dementia to engage with and respond to the collection by creating their own works of art. The Ageing Creatively project followed the success of the Line of Vision project which saw the National Gallery partner with The Place2Be, Credit Suisse’s Charity of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

Thomas Gosebruch and Al Johnson, the freelance artists who lead the Ageing Creatively programme, chose a series of paintings by Sassetta titled 'The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi' which tells an engaging and thought-provoking life story from youth to death with simplicity and directness. Participants experimented with a variety of art materials and techniques during two practical workshops and produced a series of images inspired by Sassetta’s paintings.

The final session for each group comprised a visit to the National Gallery, where participants toured the collection and saw the original paintings by Sassetta that inspired their own artworks.

Ruth Sutherland, Interim Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

“It is fantastic that through Alzheimer's Society’s Charity of the Year partnership with Credit Suisse, people with dementia were able to benefit from art sessions with the National Gallery.

“Being creative is very beneficial for people with dementia. It can boost their self-esteem, provide a sense of focus and well-being, and give an opportunity to socialise and keep the mind active. The workshops also offered a unique opportunity to meet an artist, learn new skills, and engage with art in a new way.”

James Leigh-Pemberton, Chief Executive of Credit Suisse in the UK added:

“We are delighted to bring together our partners, the National Gallery and Alzheimer’s Society, to collaborate in a unique and fulfilling opportunity for people living with dementia in London. We extend particular thanks to the National Gallery for facilitating the Ageing Creatively programme.”

For press information please contact the National Gallery Press Office: 0207 747 2865.


Nicola Jeffs – National Gallery
020 7747 2532

Emma Fielder - Alzheimer’s Society
020 7423 3595

Amanda Allman – Credit Suisse
020 7883 4921


Publicity images for this exhibition can be obtained from

To obtain a username please contact the National Gallery Press Office on 020 7747 2865 or e-mail

Notes to Editors

The National Gallery’s Outreach Programme

As part of its wider strategic objective to provide access to the collection The National Gallery is committed to finding imaginative and illuminating ways to nurture interest in it’s collection among a wide and diverse public.

The Gallery’s outreach programme plays an intrinsic role in delivering this objective. The Outreach projects are targeted at key community groups are designed to creatively engage audiences who may encounter physical, emotional and intellectual barriers to accessing the collection through other educational provision.

By offering a range of interactive outreach projects the Gallery seeks to ensure that people who may have traditionally felt excluded are encouraged to experience and respond to the National Gallery collection.

Through its outreach programmes the Gallery has developed partnerships with both London-based and regional community groups and broadly aims to support social and cultural inclusion for people of all ages from a diverse range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

All projects take as their starting point close observation and discussion of focus paintings from The National Gallery’s collection. The scope and theme of each project is tailored to the specific needs and interests of each participant group.

Projects are delivered by freelance artists and lecturers and workshops take place either in the Gallery or at a range of offsite venues. These projects provide opportunities for participants to build knowledge, learn new practical and interpersonal skills, develop confidence and explore their own creativity.

The National Gallery is committed to maintaining and developing sustainable outreach programmes as we believe that everyone – regardless of age or background – is entitled to experience, enjoy and be inspired by the paintings in the collection.

The National Gallery and Credit Suisse Partnership

Since 2008, the National Gallery and Credit Suisse have been working together in a unique partnership, the first of its kind for the National Gallery. The partnership provides a vital funding platform for the Gallery’s exhibitions and educational programmes.

About Alzheimer’s Society

  • One in three people over 65 will die with dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 750,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In just 15 years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.
  • Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them.
  • Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0845 300 0336 or visit

About Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse AG is one of the world's leading financial services providers and is part of the Credit Suisse group of companies (referred to here as 'Credit Suisse').

As an integrated bank, Credit Suisse offers clients its combined expertise in the areas of private banking, investment banking and asset management. Credit Suisse provides advisory services, comprehensive solutions and innovative products to companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients globally, as well as to retail clients in Switzerland.

Credit Suisse is headquartered in Zurich and operates in over 50 countries worldwide. The group employs approximately 49,200 people. The registered shares (CSGN) of Credit Suisse's parent company, Credit Suisse Group AG, are listed in Switzerland and, in the form of American Depositary Shares (CS), in New York. Further information about Credit Suisse can be found at