Equal Arts and Newcastle University partner for artwork exhibition.
FOR the first time the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA) will transform its corridors into exhibition space for a celebration of artwork by older people living in care.
Entitled Making a Mark, our exhibition recognises the work created by the hundreds of older people across the region benefiting from our award-winning HenPower Project.
Launched in 2013, the project brings together hen-keeping and a creative activities to combat loneliness and improve wellbeing as we age.
More than 20 HenPower projects take place across Newcastle, Gateshead, County Durham and Teesside each week with hundreds of men and women in their 80s and 90s taking part in artist-led sessions.
The charitys co-director Douglas Hunter said: “Support for people living with dementia needs to be more inclusive and while reminiscence has a role, alternative approaches focusing on living in the present and exploring creativity and the imagination need to be embraced.
“To be able to showcase the breadth of work by residents at the Institute for Ageing, which places the importance of how we support people to live better for longer at its centre, is a fantastic opportunity.
“Not only does it raise awareness of the benefits of creativity as we age but it also validates for residents what they’ve been doing and champions the notion of themselves as artists.”
It’s not the first time weve teamed up with the Institute for Ageing to raise awareness of creativity and dementia. Last year we led creative sessions in four care settings for the institute’s Dementia and Imagination research study exploring the benefits of art for people living with dementia.
The site where artwork will be displayed is also home to the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre – the partnership between the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust and Newcastle University, which has just been awarded a further £16m funding to continue to study ageing and long-term conditions over the next five years. One of the areas which will continue to receive this research funding is dementia.
Professor Louise Robinson, Director of Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, said: “We are delighted to be working with Equal Arts for this exhibition.
“Our mission at the Institute for Ageing is to conduct research to enable people to live better for longer. We know that keeping well in later life comprises a combination of a healthy heart, healthy body and healthy brain, so creative and social activities are just as important as exercise when it comes to our wellbeing.
“Making a Mark encompasses the ethos of this, and highlights how art can touch us in ways that breaks through the barrier of illness.
“It also goes hand in hand with our commitment to carry out research into the better diagnosis, treatment and management of dementia, particularly since we were recently awarded further funding from the NIHR to study this over the next five years.”
The exhibition, which officially opens on October 11, is an opportunity for 80-year-old Lily Turner and 92-year-old Ellen Stocker to share their artwork with the wider community.
For the past three months Lily, Ellen and residents at Ashfield Court in Forest Hall have been working alongside Equal Arts’ artists getting to grips with watercolours, oils and new brush techniques.
Karen Oliver, activities coordinator at the Akari Care-run home, said: “Residents really get a lot from these sessions and the activities by artists are just so different. They get to meet someone new and that’s important as a lot of residents don’t have many, or even any, visitors.
“The visual arts sessions have helped people to communicate with staff and each other and I get so much pleasure out of seeing them join in. You can see residents making connections, about the past, about work and with each other.”
Making a Mark will be on display to the public from October 12 each weekday 9am until 4pm at the Biomedical Research Building based at Newcastle University and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Campus for Ageing and Vitality site, just off Studley Terrace, Newcastle, until December 16, 2016.
Click here for more information about the project.
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