Where the Arts Belong takes centre stage at the Bluecoat

Where the Arts Belong takes centre stage at the Bluecoat

by Culture Liverpool

Where the Arts Belong, a unique research project investigating how the arts can be used to enhance the lives of those living with dementia, is now on display to the public for the first time.

Opening last weekend, March 12th, at the Bluecoat, Liverpool, the Making Sense (Of It All) exhibition showcases the project’s collaborative arts sessions between the city’s centre for contemporary arts, and dementia care operator, Belong, whose customers have been enjoying creative experiences led by critically-acclaimed artists.

Visitors have the chance to discover the outcomes of the initiative, with a programme of talks and events with the artists themselves, namely: Francisco Carrasco, Suki Chan, Gav Cross, Alan Dunn, Roger Hill, Philip Jeck, Brigitte Jurack, Mary Prestidge, and Jonathan Raisin. Galleries featuring a timeline will contextualise the four-year relationship, alongside interactive displays, reading areas, and samples of participants’ work.

Also on show is CONSCIOUS, an immersive experience featuring people living with dementia, by artist and filmmaker, Suki Chan. Her film includes the personal journey and perception of reality for Belong resident, Pegeen O’Sullivan, and a sound sculpture featuring the voices of Pegeen and Belong colleagues will also be revealed.

Stacey McCann, Belong Interim Co. Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, provides more detail:

“Our aim has been to explore best practice using the arts to the benefit of older people in care contexts – particularly for those on a dementia journey. It is truly a pioneering project for arts provision in care environments.”

The research project began in 2019, in the form of ‘artist residencies’ which initially saw six artists working with Belong’s residents, engaging them in an array of art forms, ranging from storytelling and sculpture to sound art and dance. During Covid-19 lockdowns, participation widened to include Belong’s community care customers, bringing artists into their homes, via video call.

More recently, the artists have hosted ‘Meet and Make Art’ sessions at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum, ahead of their next programme of art residencies set to take place at Belong’s new care village once it opens in the city, this spring. The museum will also play host to the exhibition later this year, accompanied by an online symposium.
Tabitha Moses, project facilitator for Where the Arts Belong, commented:

“Our exhibition marks the culmination of all the work with Belong and their customers so far – it’s definitely not one to be missed.”

The Where the Arts Belong Making Sense (Of It All) and Suki Chan CONSCIOUS exhibitions can be enjoyed at the Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, between 12th March – 12th June 2022.

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