Frames of Mind: iPad training
To introduce the project in the day centre, Bo and Zoe from Salmagundi film worked with key members of staff at the Dementia Resource Centre in themed iPad training workshops to prepare them for working with the centre users. The workshops covered painting techniques, animation, photography and film-making. They then mentored the staff to plan and offer workshops in these areas.
Meadow House poetry residency
Susanna Howard of Living Words worked with residents at Meadow House in Kidbrooke as part of Sanctuary Care's Shine! project to create individual poetry books. This gave the opportunity for staff to witness a highly person centred approach to working with people with limited expression. As the project progressed, staff were invited to training sessions to support them to continue the work in the home either through reading the poems again to the residents or through create new poems with residents.
All the participants received their own bound book of poems with their choice of image on the cover. A celebration party in the beautiful new garden at Meadows House took place, where Susanna spoke about the work and some of the residents’ poems were read. Susanna also read the poems at the Dementia Conference
Similar projects have taken place at Forrester Court, Westmead and Carlton Dene Elderly Resource Centres, the Butterworth Centre for Continuing Care and the former Tresham Day Centre; poetry has been presented at the launch of the Westminster Memory Service, the London Arts in Health Forum, the National Dementia Congress, English PEN, in the Journal of Dementia Care calendar and on Resonance fm as well as in the homes where the poetry was created.
'It was like offering a door onto another way to perceive our relationship with people affected by dementia'
Weave performance/training event
Susanna Howard has worked in a number of residential homes offering intimate poetry interventions called Living Words. Drawing on the poetry and her own reflections and thoughts about undertaking this highly personalised work, Westmisnter Arts sourced arts Council funding for her to devise a one woman performance as a training piece for professionals and artists working in the field. The performance was also shown at the Cockpit Theatre as part of our Arts and Wellbeing Week, and in Council Chamber. As we have found that staff who saw the show already understood a great deal about Susanna’s approach which greatly supported the work in the residential homes, Susanna is looking to develop a shorter piece to act as an introduction to the poetry residencies for staff. Susanna has recently developed the work further and renamed it 'Crackpot', which will be performed at the Quarterhouse Theatre on Friday 22 May, 8.15pm in Folkestone, Kent. Bookings on 01303 760750 or www.quarterhouse.com
'A creative presentation. It reminds me how when professionals speak about the client sometimes the client is lost. Here the client’s voice is brought to the centre stage. Fantastic reminder about the human and humanity in practice'
- Audience member
Weave was supported by Arts Council England under the banner of artists’ professional development
The Tea Dance: animation
Salmagundi Film offered pilot projects at Westmead and Carlton Dene to introduce animation to staff and residents, using antique and retro table ware, cakes and biscuits to ‘dance’. Tea dance music was played which prompted some impromptu dancing, as well as conversations about tea dances and tea houses using a ‘menu’ of questions. Staff were amazed at how well the residents engaged.
'The project involves learning, interaction, reminiscence and technology which is something they aren’t used to so they are learning something new'
Phyllis Etukudo, activities co-ordinator
Frames of Mind: animation
Following staff training workshops, the animators returned to create a series of short animations about the lives of the residents. For each animation one member of staff worked with just one resident, with the task of finding out something about them they didn’t know before. The residents brought personal objects along to use in the animation, and the results were shown at celebration events in both homes.
'It brought us closer together, connects us to the resident’s background. It also helps you give them respect as you realise all the things they’ve done in their lives. It made me realise more about topics that might make her upset so in future I can change the subject'
Show of Hands - a photography project in a residential home
Her hands were good at making pasta – spaghetti, tagliatelle, and bread in a wood oven… ‘These hands may bring you luck!‘
Over three months photographer Hester Jones got to know residents at
Forrester Court care home. Working initially alongside a reflexologist,
she found out about the kinds of activities they had done with their
hands in their lives. A beautiful book of photographs and accompanying
text was produced, one for each of the six units, plus a series of
framed photos for the foyer area. A launch event included readings from
the book, live music and a singalong. Councillor Flight made a speech
congratulating people on their work.
Show of Hands was supported by Arts Council England under the banner of artists’ professional development
Music and dance projects in day centres
'It really benefited the clients in having regular sessions each
week because it enabled the participants to increase their recall
abilities after each session. The sessions were carried out in a
structured way which allowed individuals to make their own contributions
which can be helpful for people with memory -difficulties.'
- Mandy Pay (day centre manager)
A series of workshops at Carlton Dene and Blenheim Day Centres with
dancer Hannah Dawes and musician Liv McClennan resulted in short
performances, a film and a CD of music. The participants explored the
themes of Sailing and Autumn, using their own memories as a starting
point to create the dance and the music to which they performed. Due to
the nautical theme the performances involved an array of sailors’ hats
and comedy moustaches!
Theatre for Thought
A mixture of people living with dementia and some family carers were recruited by the Memory Service and the older people’s Community Mental Health Team. Sessions began and ended at the Dementia Resource Centre to help participants orientate themselves to the Memory Café which is based there. The sessions included a talk by an actor and a short drama session, tea at the Criterion Restaurant and a trip to the Criterion theatre to see The 39 Steps, a private backstage tour of the National Theatre, a drama session at the Trafalgar Studios, and a music hall session with the Players’ Theatre. A hilarious final session resulted in the recording of a radio play complete with comedy sound effects. One of the participants had brought in his Oscars garnered during a career in theatre and film and the whole group enjoyed posing with them!
The Garden, arts and horticulture project
Participants at Pullen Day Centre created a textile piece with
artists Seiwa Cunningham and Joanna McCormick as part of a summer
project, based on drawings, photographs and felt work. The group also
grew their own salad items in pots they decorated, which they later ate
in sandwiches! The project included a photography trip to Kensington
Palace Gardens, followed by workshops concentrating on colour and
texture. The final artwork, ‘Three Blurred Red Swans on the Silver
Palace Gates’ was featured in the Journal of Dementia Care Calendar and
was exhibited at the Westminster Arts Open Exhibition.
Artists’ training programme and professional development
'Undertaking the Resonate artists’ training programme has
completely transformed my life for the better. It has enhanced my
professional art practice and self esteem and has increased my
employment potential' - Joanna McCormick, Artist
Westminster Arts secured funding from Arts Council England to lead a
training programme for artists with some experience in the field who
were interested in developing their skills with older people in small
groups or one to one settings. Six artists from a range of disciplines
completed a three day training programme followed by placements in day
care centres, residential homes and people’s homes. The project was
presented at the Royal Academy of Arts Dementia Symposium and the
Dementia Congress. Further funding from Arts Council England has
supported Continuing Professional Development.
Art for Thought
This delightful project for people with recent diagnoses involved a
mixture of arts sessions with professional artists and visits to the
Royal Academy of Arts, Wallace Collection and the National Portrait
Gallery Archives, all with tea parties thrown in. Group participants
continued to keep in contact after the project. The project was created
in partnership with the Westminster Memory Service and was presented at
the Royal Academy of Arts Dementia Symposium by Sarah Cellan-Jones the
Occupational Therapist and one of the participants
Arts of Wellbeing Festival
11 – 15 November 2013
Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH
Download full programme
Following the success of the 2012 festival, Westminster Arts and The Cockpit Theatre presented the second Arts of Wellbeing – a week of live events, talks and workshops across music, dance, digital arts and theatre
Arts of Wellbeing was a week long festival showcasing the many and diverse ways in which arts activities can enrich our lives. It also unearthed sometimes disturbing and provocative subject matter that tackles a range of issues including discriminatio