What Next? tells the story of four artists who worked with older people on a project that broke the mould. Artist Colette Lewis and Cobh resident Kevin Jones collaborated to revive knitting techniques used by fishermen to make and mend their own fishing nets. Their story and the stories of three other artists and members of the community will be told through the Arts and Ageing Podcast series. The podcast will be followed by other offerings in the What Next? Programme, including Arts and Ageing Workshops and Arts and Ageing e-Publication, both providing a toolkit for those working with older people. All of these resources reflect on real life projects that go beyond the normal templates for working with older people.
What Next? is funded by The Arts Council Invitation to Collaboration Scheme – Continuation Phase. It is an outcome of Creative Enquiry – Arts and Older People, a project that creatively explored fresh approaches to arts engagement with older people in 2019, initiated by Cork City Council and funded by The Arts Council Invitation to Collaboration Scheme. Three artist-residencies were hosted by three organisations: Cork Midsummer Festival, Music Alive and SIRIUS with the support of Cork City and County Councils, Age & Opportunity and the HSE.
Dancer and choreographer Helga Deasy and musician and choir leader Susan McManamon worked with MusicAlive on two artist residencies at Nazareth House, a nursing home in Mallow, and at Mayfield Men’s Shed. Visual artist Marie Brett worked with Cork Midsummer Festival on a project called Cultural Lore – the idea was that knowledge can be lost from our collective consciousness as technological advances replace more traditional manual methods. Working with SIRIUS in Cobh, the focus of visual artist Colette Lewis’s enquiry was to consider ways of connecting with older people that are more accessible and innovative within a regional context.
‘What Next?’ was a question posed by arts and culture consultant Terre Duffy in the publication that accompanied Creative Enquiry – Arts and Older People. “This was not the first ambitious project with a solid oversight partnership, curious host organisations, skilled and experienced artists, utilising a tried and tested person-centred collaborative model for engagement with older people. However, what this Creative Enquiry has demonstrated yet again is the value of engagement with the arts for older people. Unless there is commitment to deliver on the recommendations and learnings, there is a risk of this becoming another great case study for another great enquiry in a few more years.” What Next? answers this call and provides practical outcomes that go beyond presenting case studies.
As part of What Next?, an Arts and Ageing Podcast produced by journalist Ellie O’Byrne will be released on Monday 4 October, kicking off with two episodes, Local Know-How with Colette Lewis, parts one and two, including Kevin Jones' contributions as an ex-fisherman from Cobh. This will be followed by Cultural Lore with Marie Brett, part one on 11 October and part two on 18 October. The final episodes will include Freedom to Fly with Helga Deasy and Susan McManamon part one on Monday 1 November, part two on 8 November, and part three on 15 November. The final concluding episode to be released on 21 November will feature a critical reflection by Ellie.
Workshops on planning and delivering arts programming in relation to older people will take place in November, each delivered by representatives of the partner organisations. On Tuesday 9 November Kevin O’ Shanahan, Creative Director of MusicAlive, will deliver a workshop with artists Helga Deasy and Susan McManamon; on Wednesday 10 November Miguel Amado, Director of SIRIUS, will deliver a workshop with artist Colette Lewis; and on Thursday 11 November Allyson O'Sullivan, Festival Manager at Cork Midsummer Festival, will deliver a workshop with Marie Brett. These will be followed by one-to-one mentor sessions for registered participants with Miguel Amado and the artists. Free, but booking essential; bookings to be announced at a later date.
Finally in December the Arts and Ageing e-Publication will be published. This digital publication will be freely available and will include a summary of learnings and findings as well as recommendations. Further details to be announced at a later date.
Communications Manager, Emma Dwyer: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0863030520