Older people explore identity and community through engaging arts programme


Last week Jewish Care clients in north London performed original songs and presented photography and artwork at a celebration of a six month long multi-arts project run by award-winning charity Create.

The event, which took place at the Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre, came at the culmination of Create’s creativity:revealed project, which has been bringing together Jewish Care clients from Otto Schiff and Rela Goldhill home, Selig Court independent living apartment and Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre. The creativity:revealed participants – aged up to 102 – have built a supportive, social atmosphere as they have explored themes of personal and community identity through art.

The event opened with speeches from Jewish Care’s Chief Executive Simon Morris and participant David Cohen, before the group performed four songs that they had written and arranged in collaboration with Create’s professional musician Graham Rix: A Little Bit Of This and A Little Bit Of That, a Latin-inspired number about the ups and downs of life, 1930s hit South of the Border, instrumental piece Cherry Blossom (inspired by the spring weather) and an upbeat song called Music and Dancing  which explored the participants’ long lives and what brings them joy.

The event included a slideshow of photographs and an exhibition of visual art made by the group earlier in the project, working with Create’s professional photographer Alejandra Carles-Tolrá and artist Daniel Lehan. To make the visual art, the participants chose words and phrases important to them and created a colourful collage of stencils and images.

An Age UK report published in February 2017 found that creative and cultural participation made the highest contribution to wellbeing in later life of all the indicators studied, which included engagement in physical activities and level of pension income. creativity:revealed created a fun, supportive environment in which participants could make art personal to them whilst collaborating with one another, encouraging them to develop supportive relationships and new skills.

Jewish Care’s Chief Executive Simon Morris, said: “Partnership is very important and in Create Jewish Care has found another organisation with similar values to us. One of the things that’s been wonderful about this project is how it’s brought people who are usually doing separate things in different places across this campus, together.”

David, 90, who took part in creativity:revealed, spoke to the audience about how much he had enjoyed the project: “The name Create sums up why the projects gave us such pleasure. We were all encouraged to create art and, with their artists’ encouragement, that’s exactly what we achieved. We were encouraged to think creatively, and not merely to follow instructions. People should know about the value of these projects. They are fun; everybody enjoys them. They are so darn good!”

Create’s Co-Founder & Chief Executive Nicky Goulder, speaking after the performance, said: “I’d like to thank all the performers for entertaining us this afternoon, and I’d especially like to thank David for what he said. Our projects should be fun, and it’s so wonderful to hear straight from a participant that creativity:revealed was fun and has made such an impact.”

creativity:revealed ran from 10 November 2016 until 9 March 2017 in three blocks: 10 November – 15 December (Photography), 26 February – 9 March (visual art), 23 March – 27 April (Music) with the final celebration on 4 May

Funders: Anonymous, Barchester’s Charitable Foundation, The Davis Foundation


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