A Cup of Creativi-TEA

Age & Opportunity are delighted to announce the Fairland Collective as the newly appointed Age & Opportunity Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting for 2018.

Fairland Collective is a group of visual artists who collaborate together on socially-engaged art projects. They produce work that recognises and prompts creativity in daily life, often using cooking and meals to engage networks of people and communities. Through art and action, their work facilitates encounters that imagine and create new common ways of working and living together.

The Age & Opportunity Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting initiative, now in its second year, creates an opportunity for the staff and residents of a care setting to engage creatively with a visual artist, allowing them to realise their full creative potential in a nurturing and inclusive environment.  It showcases the value of creative activity to the care setting staff, residents and their families, and broadens the base of skilled artists working in the area of arts and health.

Commencing in November 2018, over the course of three months the Fairland Collective will work with the staff and residents of St Joseph’s Day Care Centre in Shankhill Dublin, a care setting specialising in Dementia care. The duration of the residency ensures that the artist spends a significant amount of time in the care setting to build up a relationship with the residents and the staff. People with dementia were selected as a group who would greatly benefit from an artist’s sustained engagement, and a group often ignored in relation to arts provision.

As part of the residency Fairland Collective will create Tea House – a multi-sensory space for drinking tea, which will be developed collaboratively with the residents of St Joseph’s. The intention is for Tea House to be full of colour and rich in smells, but also familiar – celebrating the everyday ritual of drinking tea. To realise this the artists and residents will work to create a variety of objects – including ceramics, hand-printed linens, and flower arrangements – through workshops, conversations and many shared pots of tea.

Commenting on the residency, the Fairland Collective said:

We are excited to have this fantastic opportunity to collaborate with the staff and residents of St. Joseph’s Day Care Centre.   We envisage Tea House as a warm and uniquely personalised space, which celebrates the imperfection of handmade things. Drawing on the ‘Butterfly Model of Care’ offered by St Joseph’s, Tea House will provide space and time for moments of enchantment and creativity in everyday life, for residents, staff and visitors.

Creativity and cultural participation are key contributors to wellbeing in older age.  Research shows that arts programmes involving music, visual arts and drama, among other activities, have a profound influence on the quality of life of older people in residential care, with positive impacts on health, psychological well-being, confidence and autonomy.

Dr. Tara Byrne, Age & Opportunity Arts Manager & Bealtaine Festival Director commented:

“Through the residency initiative we hope to foster an understanding of the value of the arts and creative activity, particularly in a care setting, and demonstrate and celebrate the positive impact of ageing creatively.  Through our mentoring and support we will facilitate the artists to work more confidently in this sensitive environment and support the care staff to consider more creative ways of approaching their work. We also hope to explore and push the boundaries in relation to opportunities for activity, creativity and visibility of older people in Ireland, a key objective in Age & Opportunity’s new Strategic Plan 2018-2020.”

Age & Opportunity is also pleased to announce a series of additional residencies in care settings to take place nationwide in 2019. Through funding provided by the Creative Ireland National Creativity Fund we will develop a number of artists’ residencies in care settings in each province.  These aim to make arts and creativity intrinsic to life-in-care settings for older people, particularly those who live outside major urban areas and in hard-to-reach situations, so that they can realise their full creative potential.

Age & Opportunity and the Bealtaine Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of our arts programme funders, the Arts Council and the HSE and the Creative Ireland National Creativity Fund.