We are absolutely thrilled to share this fascinating case study published by Arts and Health, which explores a number of outreach projects we produced with older people and in care home settings. It all began in Summer 2019 when artist Rozzi Kennedy was the recipient of An Táin Arts Centre’s Emerging Visual Artist in Residence Award, which aims to assist emerging artists in their career development, through giving them, studio space, a living and materials stipend and support those who wish to develop a collaborative practice by engaging with local communities.
Rozzi’s aim was to gain experience working as an artist in healthcare settings by assisting people living with dementia to express themselves through art making in the social environment of The Birches Alzheimer’s Day Centre, Dundalk. A secondary aim was to present the residency outcomes with an exhibition at our Basement Gallery.
Rozzi began collaborating with older people in County Louth as part of her residency, but it quickly developed into a number of different projects. The projects were adapted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with changing government guidelines, and further developed after restrictions lifted.
The six projects to date span 14 different care settings:
1. From the Birches to the Basement 2019: Community focused artist residency and exhibition.
2. Memories Matter 2020: Reminiscence and life history art project.
3. Signed, Sealed & Delivered 2020: Lockdown postal project.
4. Wise Words 2021: Bealtaine festival, public artwork.
5. Pride of Place 2021: Creative Ireland Creativity in Older Age Programme 2021.
6. What’s the Story? 2022 /23: Writing and visual art collaboration.
Writer Sarah Guppy and visual artist Órlaith Cullinane joined the partnership to develop the most recent project, What’s the Story?
The case study has been published by Arts and Health, which operates from the principle that the arts are integral to health and healthcare provision and that everybody, regardless of their health status, should have access to the arts.
Arts and Health is founded on a principle of equal partnership between the arts and health sectors. It embraces a range of arts practices occurring primarily in healthcare settings, which bring together the skills and priorities of both arts and health professionals. It is characterised by clear artistic vision, goals and outcomes that seek to enhance individual and community health and wellbeing. Improving quality of life and cultural access in healthcare settings is at the heart of arts and health work.