Arts project bridged generational gaps to create exhibition

Artists Louise Rea and Claire Ford
Artists Louise Rea and Claire Ford

An innovative arts project that brought together the generations has produced a new exhibition at a South Tyneside gallery.

Arts collective We engAGE has been working with pensioners from Harton Grange Care Home and Sea View Primary School, both in South Shields, for the display at the Customs House.

We engAGE artist, Louise Rea, said: “We connected young and old from the South Shields community and helped them explore their creativity through iPads and digital apps.

“We focused on individuals living with dementia, and 30 Year 5 pupils from Sea View Primary School with the purpose of improving engagement and digital confidence. The pupils visited the care home to meet the pensioners for the workshops.

“The project explored the intergenerational relationships between the two age groups, using the theme of woodlands to think about sights, taste, sounds, smells and touch.

“It culminated in a multi-sensory exploration of drawing inspired by the title Bringing The Outdoors In and that’s what the Customs House exhibition is about.”

Claire Ford, another We engage artist added: “The aim of the project has been to build creative confidence for both age groups and to embed new community relationships between schools and care homes, sustaining the relationship for future projects.

“The Sea View pupils have all undertaken training to become Dementia Friends. They got on really well with the pensioners, and we had some lovely comments from the young people – one pupil said ‘I will hold their hand and make sure they feel safe’.”

We engAGE is an arts project based in the North East of England, with a focus on older people, specifically those living with dementia. It uses creative digital apps on an iPad to bring creativity and curiosity to life. The We engAGE collective is made up of four artists Claire, Louise, Sarah-Jane Scott and Lesley Anne Rose, who come from a variety of creative backgrounds and work together to provide new exciting opportunities for older people aiming to connect them to the digital world and their inner creativity.

The exhibition is on at the Port of Tyne Gallery at the Mill Dam venue until June 5.