In Tower Hamlets 1 in 4 younger people and 1 in 2 older people live in income deprivation. This impacts their lives in many ways including increasing feelings of loneliness. High property prices force younger generations to move away and different age groups and communities can find themselves living parallel lives, rarely interacting. Arts & Ages will bring these groups together creating stronger relationships and stronger communities.
Magic Me is a leader in the field of intergenerational arts and we have particular expertise in working with people in care homes living with dementia and other age-related impairments.
The artists that we work with are able to deliver projects that are inclusive and achievable for everyone involved in the group. Everyone in the group is treated equally and work as creative peers to produce the finished artwork or performance.
The young people develop a better understanding of what ‘being old’ really means and are often surprised by the liveliness and imagination of the older people they are working with. They also develop new social skills, confidence and a sense of being part of something that matters. For many it also gives an opportunity to work with artists in a one-to-one way over a number of weeks and for some this can be a turning point in their lives, leading them to consider the arts or creative industries as a potential career choice. (see Case Study – A Lasting Impact).
The benefit to the older people, whether living in care settings, or independently in the community, is significant. Loneliness, feeling left out or disconnected from life can affect not just mental but also physical health.
The Arts & Ages projects give older people an opportunity not just to undertake an ‘activity’ but to be stretched creatively and to interact with young people from different backgrounds with different ideas. Working together on creative projects they reconnect with a sense of agency, a sense of being in touch with people in the place where they live and of still being able to make a difference. (see Case Study – A Current Project – Map of Me).
Both groups learn new skills, they are challenged to experience something new. Both the older and younger people may not have had an opportunity to work with professional artists before, or in such a concentrated way, on a creative project. The small group sizes allow artists and other volunteers to give close attention to each participant. This has benefits for both young and old. Many of those taking part might consider that some art forms were ‘out of reach’ or required some existing expertise (for example photography, singing, painting) and through the projects discover that they are interested or have a talent for something that they will then continue with into the future.