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Freelance lead artist of the Arts in Care project, Genevieve White gives an update on how the project is coming along.

Earlier this year I undertook the responsibility of collecting the works of art from last years’ art in care home workshops (and subsequent swap) and returning the work to its place of origin.

The purpose of this project was twofold. First of all, I wanted the workshop participants to be reunited with work they had created and hoped that in seeing their artwork, memories of the activities they had taken part in last year would be unlocked.

Secondly, I wished to talk with carers about the arts workshops which had taken place last year (evaluating successes and pinpointing areas which could be improved upon) and gauge interest in the workshops Shetland Arts will be offering later on this year. As I will be the main point of contact for the care homes in this project, I wanted to take time to have a chat with carers and reassure them that they could come to me with any questions or issues.

I have now visited all of the care homes, and have returned the artwork to its place of origin. Where appropriate, I have installed it in a communal place. Wherever possible, I spent time talking to the people who may participate in future workshops. Some of these people were already familiar to me from workshops I had delivered, and it was a real pleasure to see them again, reminisce about the work we had done together and play some lighthearted drama games (photos attached).

As well as the pleasure derived from seeing participants’ memories jogged through our meetings, the visits undertaken throughout the care swap have been really useful in terms of allowing me to plan effectively for our future workshops. Seeing the layout of the various care homes (I was not initially familiar with all of them), meeting carers and learning about the various different routines of the different care homes has been very helpful and will help to inform the artist training day due to take place in June too.

Through this visit, I also received a very important piece of evaluation from a woman with dementia who had participated in a workshop I co-delivered last year. She wrote this on a card, which she gave me:

“Our eyes were able to see what your eyes saw, and we thank you for the light! And the new appreciation! Thank you!”

I have included this here, because it says a lot to me about what this project has achieved so far, and will, I am sure, continue to achieve.

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