Search form

Lifelong Arts: Community-Engaged Arts Through the Lens of Age

The following is a summary of key learnings and resources from a virtual conversation held as part of the ArtsEngage Learning Community on October 30th, 2020. The focus of this session was Lifelong Arts: Community-Engaged Arts Through the Lens of Age.

Lifelong Arts Spotlight - Panel (Oct 30, 2020)

This video captures the dynamic conversation between our four panelists, who discussed the joys and challenges of their work creating arts-based programming for audiences of all ages and abilities.

The conversation led to several suggestions of key actions, relationships, and values needed to get started with community-engaged work:

  • A great team with shared purpose & values - If we can “take care of ourselves and each other, then we’re going to have more joy in the work and we can include more people.”
  • Going out and talking to people - “Get your shoes on and your coat and find people to talk to!", “Ask people, 'What do you want to feel? What do you want to experience?  What do you want to know?', rather than 'What do you want?'”
  • Partnerships (with institutions) - “Maybe we don’t have to have everything figured out!”
  • Relationships (with people) - “When you have a relationship, you can have trust. When you have trust, you can push people, take risks, experiment.”
  • Honesty - “Be honest about what you can and can’t offer.”
  • Experts - “We become stronger when we collaborate with other experts.”
  • Communication - "We need a different language and approach to navigate the gatekeepers - people who control access." (for example to seniors in care, children at school…) 

This panel discussion was followed by four breakout nooks, each led by one panelist. You can read the notes from these Breakout Nooks below. Each led by one of our panelists, the four nooks focused on:

  1. Creative Ageing: Programming With, By & For People aged over 55 (Elizabeth Lynch)
  2. Co-Creating with Children & Communities (Lisa Marie DiLiberto)
  3. Relaxing Your Performance to Create Welcoming Spaces for All Ages & All Abilities (Rachel Marks)
  4. Through the Gatekeepers (Tom Carson)

Common threads throughout the conversations included clear communication, relationship-building, and willingness to share power.

Read the Breakout Nook Notes


Full bios available here


A collection of resources shared by panelists and participants during the event!


Our thanks to the Department of Canadian Heritage for their support of the ArtsEngage Learning Community!

Funded by the Government of Canada



Community Engagement Resources from Doug Borwick

Doug Borwick is a US-based artist, arts administrator, and leading advocate for community engagement in the arts.

Nurturing Local Culture: Stories from Creative People and Places

The following is a summary of key learnings and resources from a virtual con

Turning Engagement Patterns Upside Down


Power Up

"This think-piece by Chrissie Tiller unearths and explores some of the complexities and challenges of sharing power, drawing on thinking


Julius Ebreo - Leader, Producer, Director


Karen Kaeja - Green in the loveliest way


Dance Across The North

Do You Have a Story to Share?

We want to hear from you.

Submit your story about a successful community engagement project to the growing resource we are creating together.


Stay in the loop

We'll keep you updated as new things are added to Arts Engage.

Subscribe to Newsletter