This is the Arora Dementia Friendly Community newsletter for October into November 17. Spoken word version on Soundcloud here.
DEEP Hills of Home Project
Duncan Mackinnon has been working with every resident at St Brendan’s Care Centre in Castlebay, Barra, to select and frame an image that means a great deal to the person. Working one to one, conversations were about favourite parts of Barra and why they are important. Here is just one image from that body of work.
We also installed Alex Boyd’s image from the same project at Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, on Erisort Ward in the Day Room.
I’ve heard so many conversations in the space since – ranging from why people are quite reverent about abandoned houses, being protective of them, to the pool in the neck of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ hills beyond. I don’t remember hearing many conversations about the space before, so it feels as though the image is working hard to support people already. Of course, I have seen several people just sitting quietly and gazing ‘out’ through it, which is what I anticipated, after the initial conversations, so that was lovely to see as well.
Work continues on the Benbecula Hospital project – this final DEEP image will support people in hospital to feel more like eating in a homely environment.
Tuesday ceilidhs at Western Isles Hospital featured a spinning session, enjoying the new vinyl on the wall, home baking and some spooky local stories for Halloween, as well as celebrating harvest with some seasonal produce.
Ceilidhs continue across the islands – Duncan Mackinnon offers a weekly ceilidh at St Brendan’s home and at Cobhair Bharraigh and he also hosts some sessions with the Men’s group locally, reminiscing over military and seafaring life.
The dance project, funded by DEEP went to Harris House and was a riot of colour and traditional singing. We used the scarves to link ourselves together in song and through the movement and music. Louise Davidson and Maggie Smith led the session with joy, exuberance and cultural music, which was so well received.
En route to this session in Harris, I took Cathy on a photography walk.
We went along to the Museum’s first cultural music session, which was wonderful and our amazing Maggie sang.
The Art Ceilidh at An Lanntair featured Gill Thompson’s print making. We made some gorgeous Christmas cards, bags and tags. Art celidhs are happening in Benbecula and South Uist, this month some coiled pots were made with Kate.
The Me Time Day at An Lanntair featured Dawn Susan’s natural weaving, where we made some Christmas decorations and even started on a basket. Me Time Days at Taigh Chearsabhagh were spent print making with Margaret Joan.
Kellie Anne Keltie from Tagsa Uibhist came to visit and she joined in with our print making day at An Lanntair, while we had a chat.
The team had some diversity training with the Bird of Paradise Theatre Company.
Kate has undertaken Intergenerational learning training, Paula’s International Certificate in Intergenerational Learning has come through too.
Mhairi Law, Photographer, held a session at Dun Eisdean Care Centre, to work on cyanotype images with residents. We played with some feathers, which reminded a lady of her crofting days, some personal items such as glasses, plus some models of boats and snowflakes, which triggered memories of travel and childhood.
Mhairi Law then accompanied the wonderful Bella on her photography walk to Point.
Mhairi’s images will be exhibited later but in the meantime, enjoy my snaps of the day.
Chris Hammacott held a fantastic Me Time Day at An Lanntair, working on textiles with a gorgeous cushion kit, some patchwork and a worry doll. We gave out several kits to carers.
We have been featured in Luminate’s Late Opening publication as a case study in the arts.
Have a read of it here
Friday 3rd November, Chris Hammacott held a Me Time session in Ness with carers, featuring textiles, flowers, worry dolls, patchwork, silk painting and we made plans for coming back to make duff and arrange flowers.
Weds 1st Nov, we launched our first two memory boxes in Stornoway Library and had a touchy/feely/bubbly session there over tea and cake.
Tuesday 14th Nov, we held a Fishing Memory Box session at Harris House. This box is available to donate to there until mid December but we will be holding another storytelling and song session around fishing at the end of November.
Late November, date to follow shortly, Tarbert Library is hosting the final launch of our first two memory boxes before they go out on loan through the library to anyone who would like them. These are the Crofting and Sensory boxes, but there is also a Transport box, a fishing box, an exhibition box and a seasonal box in progress.
The Deep Dance project continued with a session at Dun Berisay Care Centre in Stornoway. There were feathers, brides, shy maidens and egg shakers. There was even some dancing.
Kate has been working with the Cothrom Og Nursery and Trianaid Care Centre intergenerationally, to create sensory books together. This month, they have been working on clay buttons and fabrics and they are about to work on some cyanotypes printed on to fabric. All of the residents and children have lunch together on their intergenerational days.
The next Me Time day is at An Lanntair on 29th Nov, print making with Gill Thompson.
The next Art Ceilidh day is at An Lanntair on 22nd Nov with Mhairi Law, making Cyanotypes and inspiring our photography.
Mhairi Law will be supporting some more photography walks in reasonable weather.
Some will be open to the public, so please have a look if you would like some pointers with your own photography. The dates will be on our facebook page.
DEEP Hills of Home Project
Duncan Mackinnon and his brothers have been working hard on an image to mount at St Brendan’s Care Centre entrance area this month. Here are a couple of images of the framing process. More pictures when the completed picture is unveiled later in November!
We have just had the brilliant news that we have been successful with our application to welcome a PhD student into our project formally for the ne4xt year. Her name is Lucy Robertson and her funded place will mean that she can continue working on the innovative Intelligent Textiles work that she has been doing with us over the past few months. Welcome, Lucy and we are looking forward to working with you again.
The first project for December is DUFF DECEMBER – poster and dates coming soon.
As Clootie Dumpling or Duff is talked about so often during our sessions and because the food festival at An Lanntair has featured this heavily with a duff-off a year ago, we wanted to record some oral history of the local duff making and to create some sessions for hands-on making as a community. The first session will be at the ward ceilidh late in November but the first community session will be in the old cafe space at the front of Stornoway Library. This will be 10am-4pm on Thursday 4th December. Bring your memories, stories, recipes, cloot cloths, and let’s have a go together!
Christmas film in the Pocket Cinema – Weds 6th Dec 1.30pm.
Me Time comes to Scalpay with a textiles session in the morning at Scalpay Community Centre. Date to follow shortly. This could become a regular group.
There will be a textiles session at Harris House in December.
Mid December, the Fishing memory box goes to the Library service, completed, for booking out.
Me Time Day in December – Date TBC
Art Ceilidh day in December – Date TBC
One of the Tuesday Ceilidhs at Western Isles Hospital will be the Christmas party. Again, date tbc.
Work begins on the joint DEEP funded digital dining project. This was created by people with dementia at the Inverness DEEP gathering in the summer and will involve people eating together using tablet computers to connect over a meal. There will be some group and some one to one events.
Intergenerational work continues with Trianaid and Cothrom Og Norsery.
Weekly ceilidhs continue across the islands.
Our conference and exhibition is in planning now. The conference dates are 23rd and 24th April but the full programme and exhibition details will be available in January.