On Thursday I started a pilot of the project 'text from Grandma' (working title) In the morning I was based in Mayfield Care Home, Prescot, St Helens.
Text from Grandma is an intergenerational heritage project working with older people and an younger relative. Conversations will take the form of short poetic text messages, tweets, skype or real handwritten and drawn/written postcards.
The aim is both generations to share skills, knowledge and experience. The younger participants will help older relatives to become familiar with new technologies. The older participants will in turn share their knowledge and experiences first hand with a younger generation. This way of working will enable and inspire conversations between the generations, invigorating relationships and helping the older person to avoid becoming isolated.
Yesterday morning started badly, I spent half an hour driving round the block trying to find the venue screaming at my sat nav as it repeatedly took me back to the same two blocked roads. When I eventually arrived at Mayfield Care Home I was immediately put at ease by the Matron Sheila, who I'm sure is used to much more serious situations than one artist going round in circles. A cup of tea and introductions to the participants was all that was needed to settle me back down.
We worked on the theme of 'make do and mend', the idea being that we can gather stories and tips about subjects that will relate to a younger (recession hit) generation. Using my new ipad, we looked at a great film on youtube http://www.youtube.com from the collection at the Imperial War Museum and a slide show put together of 1940s images promoting the idea of make do and mend.
The visual resources prompted much conversation which in turn was edited down by participants into short poetic pieces. These I filmed (using the new ipad) which will be sent onto participants relatives or posted on websites.
Its was a joy to work there, the staff where really helpful and enthusiastic, the participants full of stories and memories. Lots of material was collected, the next stage is to develop a template for editing the material, and fine tuning ways to get the words and pictures to the relatives.
Barbara one of the participants commented "I very much enjoyed that. You never stop to think what path your life will take you.'