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Where the Arts Belong

We're thrilled to be working in partnership with Belong Villages to bring arts experiences to people living with dementia. Here, 'Where the Arts Belong' facilitator Tabitha Moses introduces the project. 

Where the Arts Belong is a three-year project looking at the impact that arts activity can have on the lives of older people and, in particular, those living with dementia. Artists Suki Chan, Alan Dunn, Roger Hill, Philip Jeck, Brigitte Jurack and Mary Prestidge will undertake residencies at Belong care villages in Crewe, Birkdale and Chester:  Each artist has been selected by Bluecoat for their practice and its relationship with ageing through storytelling, movement and sensory experience.

Belong villages – which specialise in supporting people with dementia and their families - are specifically designed and built to challenge previous models of dementia care through their innovative design, household living concept and use of publicly accessible spaces. The support provided is person-centred and there is a focus on maximising customers’ independence. Staff, selected for their compassion and courage, are trained in Belong’s innovative approach to supporting older people. At the heart of Belong’s ethos lie the qualities of compassion, risk-taking, trust, respect and continuous learning.

We hope that this groundbreaking partnership between Bluecoat and Belong will not only impact the lives of the people who take part in the arts activities but will also contribute to the wider knowledge pool within the fields of arts, health and social care.

The findings from the pilot residencies in Crewe will inform staff training and arts interaction in future Belong villages in Birkdale, Chester and beyond. Artists will lead public workshops in Southport and Chester as well as undertaking further residencies in the villages (opening in 2019 and 2020 respectively). Exhibitions of work produced during the public sessions will take place at The Atkinson, Southport, and The Grosvenor Museum, Chester. The project will culminate in a touring exhibition featuring work from the residencies in Birkdale and Chester, as well as presentations at national conferences and a symposium for sharing the findings with arts, health and social care professionals.



The Artists

Bluecoat has commissioned six artists, each exploring a different discipline.  Read on to find out more about their practice.

Suki Chan is a visual artist and filmmaker. Her work explores perceptions of time and place. Suki has filmed in locations across the world, including the Middle east, Istanbul and China. She is currently researching a film about consciousness. Suki loves to drink teas of all kinds and uses it as a conduit for initiating dialogue.

Alan Dunn works with people, sound and digital images; collaborating with thousands of citizens to unlock the hidden narratives within communities. Most recently he worked with Age UK to map the experiences of retired seafarers. Aside from art, Alan enjoys football, record collecting and walking the dog.

Roger Hill is a writer, storyteller and performer and has worked with groups of all ages and backgrounds. He also presents the nation’s longest-running alternative music programme on BBC Radio Merseyside. Roger loves walking, reading, travel and has written an almost daily diary for over 40 years.

Philip Jeck works with a variety of media including film, sound and installation to create environments which are said to be ‘hugely, billowingly poignant’, evoking a ‘sense of joy’. He’s interested in the meanings within relationships at Belong. Philip loves to cook, watch telly and listen to music. 

Brigitte Jurack is a sculptor who makes collaborative and playful work in response to the world around her. She encourages workshop participants to discover the joy of making things. Away from art, she loves gardening, hill walking and volunteering at the German Church in Liverpool as well as spending time with her first grandson.

Mary Prestidge is an experienced dancer, teacher and improviser, working with the senses to ignite the imagination and create new ways of communicating. Aside from art, Mary enjoys knitting, watching the telly and growing fruit and veg on her allotment.

Tabitha Moses is an artist and the project facilitator on Where the Arts Belong. She has made work about her own and other people’s experiences of illness, healing and medical treatment, using a variety of media. Tabitha will deliver public workshops at The Atkinson and the Grosvenor Museum, in collaboration with the residency artists. She loves singing, dancing and listening.



Where the Arts Belong is part-funded by Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation through Celebrating Age, a programme of varied projects exploring the impact of engaging with arts and culture on older people.


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