The project was devised as a partnership with Luminate (Scotland's creative ageing festival), Shetland Arts and Global Yell, with a remit to make new work through arts workshops with customers of Care Centres across Shetland, and to exhibit their artistic output throughout late 2015. It was intended to promote engagement in creative activities by residents and users of these care settings and to give their work a wider exposure by sharing it across the islands. The outcome of the project is an increased interest in artistic activity by both customers and staff in these care settings. In addition, the work is still being toured around the settings involved, with feedback being that the participants are keen to engage with and talk about the work, thus wanting to keep it for a longer length of time.
As well as the benefits of participation for the older people involved, there was the added opportunity to up-skill artists in their delivery and execution of workshops and exhibiting for the specific environment of a Care Centre. This training took the form of individual mentoring sessions with the Visual Arts and Literature Development Officers at SADA.
All Care Centres in Shetland were offered this opportunity, and six came onboard: Brucehall and Nordalee (both in Unst), Newcraigielea, Taing House and Montfield Support Services (all in Lerwick) and Wastview (on the West Mainland). These Care Centres gave the project a wide geographical reach as well as a broad range of clients - from residential to day care, from dementia sufferers to able-bodied. Thus, the experience for the artists was diverse, and ultimately very rewarding. Each artist reported having developed skills in adaptability in order to meet the specific needs of participants.
The artists recruited were Chloe Garrick, Genevieve White, Amy Colvin, Kristi Tait and Raman Mundair. Their workshops produced a wide range of work and employed a vast array of techniques - including filmmaking, storytelling, printmaking, music and sculpture and from sharing tea and biscuits to sharing homemade pakora, the participants were engaged in many different ways to make art.
Residents at Wastview were reported asking for their next workshop and were so involved that the staff were prompted to organise future sessions with a local pottery service to paint crockery. Participants in Brucehall were inspired to bring along their own work to share with their group. In each setting, there were reports of some participants being challenged by the hands-on nature of making work, however invariably staying for each session and eventually contributing.