An elderly gentleman was sat, seemingly disconnected from the Living Arts session taking place around him. He was wearing a bright red jumper which one of the creative team noticed. When they said “I like your red jumper”, the gentleman responded, “it isn’t red, it’s campion”.
This interaction surprised the team. This was the first time the gentleman had actively engaged with the Living Arts team and surrounding activity. But this interaction prompted an iteration that sparked a stream of previously unheard material. “Campion”, in fact, refers to the wild flower bearing the same name and colour. In revealing the man’s interest in wild flowers, the team had opened up a dialogue with the gentleman that evolved through this close interaction and engagement with the arts team. The following week a book of wild flowers was brought in and the man proceeded to describe the flowers to the group.
This interaction was just one of many experiences that prompted Dr Chai Pater, owner of HC-One Care Homes to describe the Living Arts Project, which took place in 2016:
“What we’ve seen here today, and what I’ve seen over the last few weeks is that the work [Spitalfields Music] are doing is unlocking new experiences, unlocking new expressions, engagement between the residents, the staff and the relatives. We’re onto something here, something really quite special.”
In this small interaction, we recognised the potential that this project has. A potential to discover more about those living in care, discover ways of tailoring and personalising care relations through creative approaches and find new ways to facilitate greater expression of stories and imagination.
The Endless Imagination Project, beginning in January 2019, will expand upon the Living Arts Project, working across three Tower Hamlets care homes. Through a series of multi-arts sessions delivered together with the team in each care home, we will work to revitalise and reinvigorate residents’ immediate surroundings and immediate experiences. The project and approaches are about creativity in the here and now, not reminiscence, memory or the past. How in the moment, people can continue to explore creative instinct and their creative selves. In turn, this provides many long-term benefits for residents and care home teams alike, including improved well-being and care relationships and decreasing isolation.
Spitalfields Music is raising funds for Endless Imagination. Your donation will be doubled through thebiggive.org.uk if you donate between Nov 27 and Dec 4. Your £25 will become £50, your £50 becomes £100 and your £100 becomes £200, meaning that the benefits are endless for those who need it.