Exhibition & Conference in Wellington, UK

March 22nd -23rd, 2017

March 22nd – 31st, 2017

Unit 1, Tonedale, Wellington

More info here

Handmade Wellbeing Exhibition in Wellington, UK
Handmade Wellbeing Exhibition in Wellington, UK

The exhibition showcased the art and craftwork that was made by the older participants, artists, in care settings during the Handmade Wellbeing workshops provided by the learner artists of Superact.

The Mayor of Taunton Deane, Mrs Vivienne Stock-Williams, opened the exhibition. It was nice to see so many older artists at the exhibition launch, and also staff from the collaborating care settings. The house was full of artists and other art lovers of all ages, and the atmosphere was enthusiastic!

It was also possible to contribute to the collaborative piece “The things these hands have made…”

Handmade Wellbeing UK
The Mayor of Taunton Deane, Mrs Vivienne Stock-Williams with artist Ruby and Superact team. Photo: Mari Salovaara

The artwork done by the older artists was magnificent, and the exhibition really proved that life-long learning is true. With a little support when needed, learning and exploring does not have to end to a certain age!

Superact / Handmade Wellbeing

Filmed and edited by Andy Qualtrough

The film presents the process of making the collaborative wall hanging in Court House. The film was shown in the exhibition and conference.

Conference program March 23rd, 2017

Superact arranged the third conference of the Handmade Wellbeing project in Wellington, UK. The conference was held in the same space as exhibition, which made the atmosphere special; it was wonderful to see the artwork all the time!

Handmade Wellbeing UK
Delegates and visitors all set and ready for the Handmade Wellbeing Conference. Photo: Andy Qualtrough
Mari Salovaara, Doctoral Student, University of Helsinki:
“Craft workshops for older people. Experiences from Finland.”

Mari has been working as a researcher in the Handmade Wellbeing project in Finland. She guided the craft student teachers who conducted the craft workshops in elderly care settings in Finland and helped them to cooperate with care settings and to develop the activities. She also collected research data from the students about their experiences of facilitating craft workshops for older people. In her presentation, she shared some of the main points from this data. See presentation below for details.

Craft workshops for older people. Experiences from FinlandSee the slideshow
Handmade Wellbeing UK
Examples of artwork made in the workshops in Finland from Mari's presentation. Photo: Mari Salovaara
Richard Dempslake, Camelot House Activities Coordinator: Creative activities within dementia support
Marcus Lyward, Owner of Court House Residential
with Activities Coordinator Anne Clark: “Creativity in care settings. My perspective.”

Activities coordinator Richard shared his thoughts about planning activities to support people with dementia. He emphasized the importance of getting to know the residents and their different personalities. Dementia effects everyone differently and can sometimes completely flip one’s personality. It is important to take the information that is given about new residents, but also to be aware that they may change.

For example, some residents keep their passion for doing artistic activities while others find new passions that they have never had before. Thus, it is worthwhile to encourage people to participate in different activities, but an activity shouldn’t be a task. The facilitator needs to be flexible and empathetic and adapt to the residents. Sometimes the activity needs to be changed according to how the residents feel.

Handmade Wellbeing UK
Marcus and Anne from Court House Residential discuss how to get creativity into care homes. Photo: Andy Qualtrough
Handmade Wellbeing UK
Detachable pieces of Court House wall hanging. Photo: Superact

Richard tries to involve all the residents in some weekly activities. He felt that the residents, who were involved in Handmade Wellbeing workshops, enjoyed trying new activities. Their faces showed happiness and satisfaction which stays with them even when they forget the activity itself. They also bonded together and interacted with each other. Also, the staff learned from each other.

When it comes to providing creative activities in care settings, the role of the care setting manager is significant. Marcus has a background in arts and for him the decision to encourage creative activities is not a difficult one. However, having different activities raise the costs of care, but it costs to have a high-quality care. For manager, it is important to run a setting that is a positive place where people want to live.

Marcus thinks it is important to share and transfer project results and knowledge of arts and wellbeing, but unfortunately competition between care settings does not facilitate this. The way forward in UK would be to influence the Care Quality Commission, which regulates all care facilities. If providing creative activities seems like an extra request and more work, it may not be received well in care settings. Thus, it should be required from care settings to provide these activities. Local and national authorities are the most likely to push for change.

Marcus also suggested a database from which to pick artists and activities from. There is no time to look for them individually, and a registered database would provide assurance over the quality of provision.

Activities coordinator Anne was collaborating with Superact in Handmade Wellbeing project. She has always had an art group for residents, but the ones who think they cannot draw do not participate this activity. Anne wanted to provide something that all could do. She initially had the idea of the countryside wall hanging, and Superact artists helped the work forward and gave her good ideas and tips she would not have thought otherwise. Anne is planning to continue working on the wall hanging with the residents in the future.

Anne thinks that the working relationship between the manager and activities coordinator is important. It is obvious that Marcus values the work of activities coordinators; he states that a good activities coordinator can transform an adequate home to an excellent one!

Key Note Speaker Alex Coulter, Director of Arts and Health South West:
“Co-production – Learning together”

Alex Coulter talked about co-production of working methods. Arts & Health South West is a partner in an Erasmus+ project ‘Art and Social Change’, in which the aim is to collaboratively develop methodologies of using arts in health care with those in long-term recovery from addiction. In co-production, it is important to include all the parties with different kind of expertise. For example, this project involves health care and rehabilitation professionals, artists as well as the clients, people with addictions, into co-production process. It is especially important to acknowledge that people with addictions are best experts of their own individual condition and experience, and engage them.

Alex also talked about how the healthcare services are now moving away from illness centeredness towards the ownership of own health. This is a more asset-based model where strengths and assets are stressed instead of deficits.

Handmade Wellbeing UK
Key Note Speaker: Alex Coulter, Director of Arts and Health South West. Photo: Mari Salovaara
Handmade Wellbeing Artists and Lead Artist Jon Lincoln Gordon

Finally, the artists who designed and facilitated the art workshops in UK during the Handmade Wellbeing project, shared their experiences and learning during their journey. The lead artist Jon Lincoln Gordon, who also trained the learner artists, is very experienced in working with older people and people with dementia. However, for many of the learner artists working in care settings was a new experience and opened new perspectives and professional opportunities.

Read more about the workshops here.

Handmade Wellbeing UK
Project Manager Janine Stedman with the Lead Artist Jon Lincoln Gordon. Photo: Mari Salovaara
Handmade Wellbeing UK
Handmade Wellbeing team of learner artists in UK. Photo: Mari Salovaara