Elders from Aston and Newtown celebrate a year of creativity while combatting isolation
This March, elders from Aston and Newtown will celebrate their year of creative pursuits at an afternoon event at Midlands Arts Centre (MAC).
The key objective for the Elders Project, led by the Black Arts Forum and MAC, was to assist in the alleviation of loneliness, offer a space for the participants to enjoy and express themselves, engaging with old friends, while also creating new ones along the way.
The weekly sessions, which included music, storytelling, visual arts, movement and wellbeing workshops were delivered in day centres, community spaces and at MAC, led by local professional artists.
Participants and project partners will celebrate at a sharing event on 1 March, culminating with the official unveiling of a new associated exhibition, which highlights their year-long activities. Hosted within the Peoples Postcode Lottery, Community Gallery at MAC, the exhibition runs from 24 February until 25 March 2018.
Over 130 elders engaged in over 100 sessions throughout North Birmingham as part of the project. During the initial stages of the project, centre managers observed a level of apprehension from participants, however once they were encouraged by staff and the artists, this reluctance converted to joy and excitement at the prospect of learning something new and engaging. In some cases individuals commented on improved mobility and outlook on life. It also offered participants the space to reminisce and socialise through creativity.
An Elder from ACE Resource Centre, in Nechells said: “It is the first time I have ever played a drum, it is good for our fingers/hands, I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next session.”
An Elder from Plummer House, in Aston added: “We need the sessions to continue, we have made such good progress with our movement, why does it have to stop now?”
Deborah Kermode, CEO and Artistic Director at MAC said: “Our ethos at MAC is arts for all. The Elders Project is a great example of this commitment. For many of the participants, their visit to MAC was a new experience, and we hope as a result of this project and our future programmes, which from May includes our Beyond Windrush season – we can continue to build on this relationship. It has been a pleasure to welcome all the individuals involved and we look forward to extending this welcome throughout the summer and beyond.”
Following the event at MAC, participants and project partners will also enjoy an additional sharing in Aston and Newtown.
The Elders project was funded by Birmingham City Council Aston and Newtown Commissioning Fund and Arts Council England. With additional support from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
For further information about the exhibition please visit: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/elders-project