We are now three weeks into a six week, open studio, project at the Lochgelly Centre and we have a good idea of what form the finished piece will take. The theme is ‘Home’ and we have invited people living with dementia in the community, and their supporters, to drop in and play with us. Their contributions completely feed into the piece of work. This is not a class as we are taking an open co-creative approach and finding that this is a successful model. We are playing and exploring with different art materials, video and musical instruments. We weren’t sure how this was going to work but it is turning out to be a very enjoyable and creative process both for us and the people that come along. People are feeding back that this is really working for them and as a bonus they are feeling so much more relaxed hours after the session.
Because of the informal, guided and encouraging atmosphere people, ranging from forty to nearly ninety years old, are discovering creative skills they never thought they had. For example making beautiful and colourful abstract sketches and playing the harp. With the drawing, Emma has taken away the pressure to capture a figurative image and just encouraged people to make different types of marks and flow with the pastels and charcoal. After a few moments of holding back people are surprising themselves by what they are producing. One woman said “I can’t believe I have done that”. With the music, the instruments chosen are all tuned to a pentatonic, five note scale, that sounds harmonious together even if the people have never played them before.
We have discovered a great way of working together – to have some people jamming with music and video while the drawers create a piece of artwork together influenced and inspired by the music. With such an exciting co-creative approach I can’t wait to see the final audio-visual piece of work.