An arts research project exploring how creativity can promote the wellbeing of people living with dementia in Chester has been unveiled for public viewing.
Seen and Heard – Adventures in Arts and Dementia showcases the latest chapter in the collaboration between not-for-profit care operator, Belong Chester, and the Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre. Artists commissioned by the project, Brigitte Jurack, Mary Prestidge, Jonathan Raisin, Alan Dunn, Roger Hill and Tabitha Moses, have spent five months working with the dementia specialist’s customers in their City Road home, as well as with children from its integrated onsite nursery.
Now available for viewing, their activities in sculpture, dance, sound art, painting and drawing come to life through a fascinating exhibition at the Grosvenor Museum, with a dedicated space contextualising dementia and a film screening featuring interviews with the artists and participants.
Work including ceramics, paintings, postcards and even tongue twisters is on display, alongside a timeline of the wider Where the Arts Belong project which has seen artists working with Belong’s customers from across the region since 2019.
In September, a symposium to be held in Chester will bring together the project’s findings, explore how it has helped those involved and discuss the wider implications for the use of arts in care environments.
Tabitha Moses, artist and project facilitator from the Bluecoat, said: “We are pleased to be showing Chester the fruits of our labour. The Seen and Heard – Adventures in Arts and Dementia exhibition features Belong customers’ great work, celebrates them and what they’ve achieved.
“We hope that the conversations that come out will go some way towards changing the perception of life with the condition and evidence the amazing impact arts engagement has, proving it is possible to live well with dementia.”
Sue Goldsmith, chief operating officer at Belong, added: “Our four-year collaboration with the Bluecoat has proven to be highly successful, with our customers relishing the opportunity to work alongside the artists, learning new skills and enjoying the delights of creative expression. We invite everyone to join us at the Grosvenor Museum to see the work for themselves.”