Culture Guides

for Active Ageing


Art and culture provide experiences and meaning in everyday life .


Modern welfare states has as a major goal of culture policy to ensure free and equal access to experiences with art and culture for all citizens. Because experiences with art and culture can enliven and enlighten people and change their lives for the better and has positive implications both for the individual and for society.


This complies with the need of all groups of learners, but it will in particular have value for social marginalised groups. Because their marginalisation may imply a retirement from work life as well as life in general; and they are confronted with the risk of isolation and loss of active relations and en-gagement. Their involvement in art and culture can enliven their learning motivation and renew their relations to other people and the community, and help them to achieve a unity or stability in the world by bringing new perspectives on their current and potential place within it.


It is therefore important that all citizens have the opportunity to participate in art and culture. How-ever, this is not the case. The social groups with a short education and low income, groups marginalised from the work life and some senior citizens are low-users or often non-users of the local art and culture offerings. The reasons may - as it is seen in the report from the Danish Ministry of Culture, "The cultural habits of Danes, 2012" - be many, but it is important that we do something about it.


The voluntary arts and culture associations could improve their ability to reach out and include social marginalised groups.


We see a need to strengthen the access for the vulnerable groups to arts and culture as a gateway to personal development and social inclusion by engaging and retaining them in interesting, culturally active and inclusive environments.


Furthermore, we think the most appropriate mean to meet this need and promote ““cultural sustainability” is by using the idea of “citizen help citizen”. The state and municipalities can support such a help, but they cannot do it themselves, neither can the market. It depends on the efforts of volunteers and voluntary arts and culture associations in a civil society context.


We need to find new ways to involve the comprehensive Nordic civil society sector of voluntary arts and culture,

where a vast number of cultural and educational associations provide learning activities for about 20 to 30 per cent of the populations. The associations need through cooperation and partnerships with local and cultural actors to create a framework, in which volunteers can convey art and culture at eye level with social marginalised groups in a continuous manner.


The core of such a new framework should be “Culture Guide services”, where the “culture guides” are volunteers that act as mentors or guides by introducing or helping marginalised social groups of seniors to participate in local art and culture activities, either as audience or as active participants.


Culture Guide services


“Culture guides” are volunteers that act as mentors or guides by introducing or helping marginalised social groups to participate in local art and culture activities, either as audience or as active participants.


Such art and culture offerings may include:

- Visits to professional art offerings, provided by local culture institutions or arranged by voluntary arts associations: Theatre, art exhibitions, concerts, dance performances, culture heritage activities, museums, etc.

- Visits or participation in amateur art or voluntary culture activities such as amateur choir, amateur theatre, music groups, dancing groups, telling life stories, local history groups, old handicraft, preservation of cultural heritage places and traditions, etc.

Nordic values



The Nordic countries have as one of the major aims of their culture policy to promote art and culture to the entire population, and at the same time the countries experience the recurring problem with large residual groups of non-users, especially among social marginalised.

Many countries as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers currently focus still more on the need to involve voluntary associations and volunteers to meet this challenge.

Key words in this context are to promote a “sustainable culture” with reference to a civil society context, where “citizen help citizen” in an inclusive and cohesive manner.