This page is for artists and crafts-people who are thinking of joining Lighting Up.  Having a qualification in art is not a requirement.  All artists are volunteers, i.e. they are not paid for working with Lighting Up, though there is a budget for expenses.

Lighting Up in action

Our main aim is to support people with dementia and their carers, many of whom are at a difficult time in their lives. We use art as a means of contributing to the quality of life of participants and not as an end in itself. We work at sessions organised by Alzheimer’s Society where people who live in their own homes meet together in convivial surroundings.

At a Lighting Up session there is usually about one artist to every two participants.  It is an enjoyable event for the people with dementia, you can see them ‘lighting up’ as they get involved. Their carers also relax as they begin to enjoy themselves, they too can be seen ‘lighting up’. Artists find themselves engrossed in the satisfaction of using their skills in such different ways.

photograph of lighting up participant

Lighting Up artists

Many artists join us to further their career, to develop a portfolio of experience or because they want to help other people. Whatever their reasons for joining, artists do not need to have had any formal art training and previous experience of dementia is not essential. They bring a wide range of skills in visual arts and have the opportunity to work with a range of media.

When some people hear that we work with people who have dementia they ask ‘isn’t it a bit depressing?’ – but Lighting Up artists get as much satisfaction as the participants. Artists work together as a team in each venue and support each other, sometimes working one-to-one with participants, sometimes with a larger group. It provides a rewarding opportunity to work in a range of different media, and can also be great fun.

There is an induction process for artists joining us, and initial guidance is given as you begin with a team. There are training sessions that artists have found to be extremely valuable, increasing our understanding of working alongside people who have dementia, and giving us new ideas and opportunities to share experiences.

Join Lighting Up

Lighting Up started in 2007 and has proved its success. Now we aim to reach more participants in more places, across a wider range of diversity. We can only achieve this if more artists join us.

The combined ‘job description’ and ‘person specification’ is:

  • visual artist/crafts-person
    • in practically any medium, formal or otherwise
    • regardless of whether they have formal training in the arts
    • representing a wide range of diversity in all its aspects
  • experience of being with people who have dementia may be helpful but is not essential
  • artists commit to a minimum of one session (approx 3 hours) per month – these happen during the working week
  • artists are expected to participate in induction and training as it develops and to contribute to the working of the group of artists at their particular venue
  • involvement is unpaid though there is a small budget for individual expenses.


The commitments made by artists and by Lighting Up are given in detail in the Joining Pack, see the link at the bottom of this page. In summary they are:

Artists commit to:

  • regularly attending one session per month
  • participating in induction and relevant ongoing training
  • contributing to the working of the group of artists at their particular venue. They are also invited to contribute (according to their interests and abilities) to wider aspects of the management of Lighting Up.

Lighting Up commits to ensuring that volunteer artists:

  • find their involvement satisfying
  • feel at ease working with Lighting Up, especially that they can contribute to how it is run and that any concerns are heard and responded to
  • are offered induction and ongoing training.

If you are interested in joining Lighting Up please download the Joining Pack (PDF) which gives more information about working with Lighting Up, including the very few formalities.