The Old Library Trust is delighted to be the recipient of a new grant of £7, 067 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (Arts and Older People Programme) for their project: “Treasured Possessions: The People’s Artefacts” which will enable people with dementia from DEEDS to make a link to our local Tower Museum for a dementia friendly session looking at the people’s 10 artefacts, reminiscing and engaging in storytelling about the objects. Back in their social groups the members will explore what possessions they may have at home that they treasure most. The members will then work with two artists who will help collect their own stories and the group will be photographed with their treasured possessions. The artist photographer will lead an art workshop in portraiture from its beginnings in paintings, cameos, silhouettes and leading into photography. The members will work with polaroid cameras to take their own portraits at the end of the workshop. Finally, two members from each of the 6 social groups will represent each area for a large-scale portrait with their Treasured Possession where the story of the person and the object will be embedded as a bar code into the portrait to hear when scanned by the viewer. The group and individual portraits will form an exhibition which will be mounted in both Derry and Strabane.
Sinead Devine, Co-ordinator is thrilled that this project has been funded. “The arts are a great connector for people living with dementia. This funding will give our members access to high quality arts provision which will enable them to express themselves with photography and storytelling. It will also further link those with dementia to the Museum Services in the Derry as part of our linking to the community focus.”
Betty Tower from the Tower Museum commented “The Tower Museum is delighted to be working with DEEDS to provide object handling workshops for their members in the Museum specifically designed for people living with Dementia. The Museum is working to becoming Dementia Friendly which can be seen in the work that we do with Nursing and Care homes as well as our exhibitions. This new project will add a new dimension to the work which is helping to make Derry and Strabane a dementia friendly region.”
Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Programmes Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented, “We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as help to relieve stress, loneliness worries and pain. The Arts and Older People Programme aims to increase opportunities for older people to engage in the arts and more recently, has focused on delivering arts activity within care home settings, working with residents living with dementia and their carers. Thanks to The National Lottery players, Baring Foundation and Public Health Agency, the Arts and Older People Programme is providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in the arts, enriching their lives for the better and the Arts Council is thrilled to support this wonderful, engaging project from The Old Library Trust.”

Watch the site as we bring you updates on the progress of the project this winter.