Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt

Library with a curved wall


In order to define how things ought to be through policy or strategy, it is vital to have a clear picture of how things currently are. In order to understand how a particular intervention has had an impact, it is important to take stock of what has happened.

Core Expertise

As a trained social researcher, Rebecca has many tools at her disposal for describing a field of action. This includes conducting archival research and literature reviews, soliciting details of activity, drawing up case studies and consulting experts. Rebecca is currently working with London Arts and Health to scope the scale, character and maturity of the creative health sector in the English capital for the Greater London Authority.
Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company, Beyond the Marigolds
Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company, Beyond the Marigolds. Photo: Simon Richardson

Experience: Creative Ageing

Between 2010 and 2019, the Baring Foundation dedicated more than £6m of arts funding to participatory activities involving older people. At the end of this period, the foundation commissioned Rebecca to identify how the field of creative ageing had developed over the previous decade. You can read Older and Wiser? Creative Ageing in the UK 2010–19 here, and hard copies are available on request.

In crafting an overview of the field, Rebecca consulted literature published by the foundation and arts and older people’s organisations and policy documents produced in the four nations of the UK. She also conducted semi-structured interviews with 26 leaders in the field, toured the country visiting exemplary organisations and oversaw a call for programme details. Rebecca found a rich seam of participatory activity in the community alongside a growing number of artists developing, discovering or returning to their practice in older age. She examined the barriers that prevented older people from becoming involved in creative and cultural activities and the ways in which these were being overcome. She gave consideration to the progress that had been made and work yet to be done. Her findings were published as a 100-page report, culminating in an extensive list of creative ageing programmes in the UK.

To find out more, or to commission scoping work, please contact scoping[at]

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