Engage and Create

Published in Case studies on 16 Apr 2015

The Art of Talking

How does facilitating discussions about paintings by Van Gogh & Picasso open up amazing conversations between people with dementia living in care homes?  In The Art of Talking, Rachel Mortimer shows how her social enterprise Engage & Create ignites people's minds, engages their interest, and creates wonderful connections.

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Ignite sessions

These sessions use artworks from galleries and museums all over the world to stimulate discussions amongst those living with dementia. Ignite Sessions provide a social opportunity, even for those who have trouble communicating. The facilitator acts as a tour guide around the artworks, allowing each participants to react and contribute to the conversation. The sessions can be conducted at the bedside for those unable to join a group activity and can be tailored from early cognitive impairment through to end of life. The smiles at every level speak for themselves.

Using key elements of the Museum of Modern Art New York's groundbreaking programme 'Meet Me', these art appreciation workshops encourage participants to actively engage in each session moving away from concentrating on deficiency towards the varied and satisfying emotional and intellectual experiences that are possible. In this way, differences of opinion are shared and communication within the group is nurtured, resulting in positive outcomes for participants. Theses sessions use thematic explorations and provide art historical information.

Sessions can be tailored for the level required. Often they will result in a creative session, where participants are encouraged to produce something inspired by the theme. This is a great workshop for dementia patients who struggle with language and communication, as the stimulus and nurturing environment can increase confidence and self esteem. Equally the sessions could be tailored to a more able group to give more of a gallery critique experience. The aim of these sessions is not only to educate people about art, but to use art as a stimulus for discussion. Often care workers/relatives find them equally fascinating and are welcome to join in.