About Us 

CADA believes that we all have a right to create and take an active part in creativity and cultural life at any age

How We Work

We exist to create the conditions for innovative and impactful work to flourish and to ensure that older people’s views and voices are heard.

We connect individuals and organisations in communities across England and beyond, who are developing and delivering arts and heritage programmes with, by and for older people.

We believe that society is richer when all older people are visible and valued; when communities come together to share arts, culture and heritage through the lens of age, experience and difference; and when we see more pathways to emerge or re-emerge as a creative talent in later life.

Our Priorities

Developing understanding and insight: identifying opportunities and potential pathways to change.

Advocacy: advocating for the power of creative ageing to policy makers, NGOs and potential funders.

Convening: coordinating opportunities to think, learn and reflect

Campaigning: forming partnerships with the people and organisations that can make change happen.

Our People


Dr Virginia Tandy OBE is the director of CADA, the new Creative Ageing Development Agency.

The former Director of Manchester City Galleries (1998-2008) and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council (2008-2011), she was President of the Museums Association (2006-2008) and a trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund (2009-2015).

A board member of National Museums Liverpool and the Granada Foundation, she currently chairs Brighter Sound, a NW creative music charity and is a member of the Fabric Committee for St Paul’s Cathedral.  

Our Advisory Group

Phil Cave

Phil is a consultant, speaker and researcher, specialising in public engagement.

He worked with Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Local Trust, National Lottery Community Fund and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to design Creative Civic Change.

Julie McCarthy

Julie McCarthy is the manager of Great Place GM; a programme to demonstrate the importance of arts and culture in delivering against strategic priorities at Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

She has worked in socially engaged practice and co-production for more than 25 years and Creative Ageing is a major focus of her current practice.

Paul McGarry

Since 2003, Paul has led multi-agency urban ageing partnerships, and in 2016 was appointed as the Head of the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub.

Paul has had a number of journal articles on ageing published, and given presentations to high-profile events in the USA, Asia, Europe and Australia. 

Arti Prashar

Arti stepped down as Spare Tyre’s Artistic Director/CEO in August 2019 after inspirational and acclaimed leadership for 19 years.

She developed inclusive creative practice championing diverse voices. She is at the forefront of immersive sensory theatre practice for people living with dementia and learning disabled people. 

David Slater

David Slater was Founder Director of UK participatory arts company Entelechy Arts, based in Deptford, southeast London.

He remains an Associate of the company. David has extensive experience of working with participatory arts practice in both urban and rural communities with a particular interest in programmes that support older, old people to connect and contribute to the cultural life of their communities.

Recent street-based performance work, including Theatre of Wandering for Coventry 2021, has focused on uncovering the often invisible and unheard stories of older age. 

Elaine Unegbu    

My background is nursing but I have always been passionate about culture. Over the past decade or so I have worked with cultural partners to help make culture more representative, relevant and accessible to older people in Manchester. 

I am a member of CADA advisory board, and a Culture Champion. As an ambassador for arts and culture I seek maximise the reach and of arts and culture in to each of Manchester’s neighbourhoods.

Esme Ward 

Esme Ward is Director of Manchester Museum, the UK’s largest university museum.  
She is Honorary Professor of Heritage Futures at the University of Manchester, a Clore Fellow and Culture Lead for the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub.

Our Supporters and Partners

CADA was initiated and is hosted by Manchester Museum, in collaboration with the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery.

We are supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and The University of Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing. Together, our partners have an internationally recognised track record in pioneering, innovative age-friendly practice.

We are seed funded by the Baring Foundation which made a ten year investment into creative ageing from 2010-2019 and supported by Arts Council England. CADA is building on this to create a powerful national community of practice that is led by older people and respects their right to culture and creativity.

CADA is an Affiliate Partner of the Centre for Cultural Value

CADA is a member of the British Society of Gerontology Creative Ageing Special Interest Group

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