Where the Arts Belong

In partnership with Belong and funded by Arts Council England, Where the Arts Belong was a groundbreaking project providing enriching arts experiences in specialist dementia care villages across the North West.

Jan 2019 - Oct 2023

Beginning in 2019, the Bluecoat sought to bring meaningful arts engagement to the residents, staff and families of Belong Villages and Belong at Home.

This digital resource documents the work of the Bluecoat within the Where the Arts Belong project that was kindly supported by The Rayne Foundation.

Here you will find an overview of the project, key learnings, evaluations and free resources.

Where The Arts belong Timeline

The Artists Involved

During a series of artist residencies, Belong customers had the chance to engage with sculpture, storytelling, papercutting, dance, music, digital, and sound arts.

Bluecoat selected each artist for their expertise and its alignment with themes like ageing, storytelling, movement, and sensory experiences.

Roger Hill

Roger Hill is a writer, storyteller and performer, and has worked with groups of all ages and backgrounds for over 40 years. Roger also presents the nation’s longest running alternative music show on BBC Radio Merseyside.

Francisco Carrasco

Francisco Carrasco is an artist, composer, writer and educationalist. He has collaborated with musicians, poets and dancers around the world. In his educational work Francisco has helped everyone from school children and dinner ladies to refugees and crowds of hundreds to find their musical voices.

Suki Chan

London-based artist and filmmaker, Suki Chan, is famous worldwide for her explorations of the perception of time and place, using a range of media. Suki has filmed in a number of diverse locations and sites, including the Middle East, Istanbul and China.

Alan Dunn

Glaswegian Alan Dunn creates artworks using sound and digital images: collaborating with thousands of citizens to unlock the hidden narrative in communities. Alan also lectures in Art and Design at Leeds Beckett University and has been involved in a number of projects. Recently, he worked with Age UK to map the experiences of retired seafarers.

Philip Jeck

Philip Jeck works with a variety of media including film, sound and installation. He started working with record players and electronics in the early '80's and has made soundtracks and toured globally with dance and theatre companies as well as his extensive solo concert work.

Brigitte Jurack

Brigitte Jurack is a German sculptor, whose work has been exhibited all over the world. Brigitte is Head of Sculpture/ time based arts at Manchester School of Art and runs many sculpture workshops, encouraging participants to discover the joy of making things

Mary Prestidge

Mary Prestidge is an experienced dancer, teacher and improviser, working with the senses to ignite the imagination and create new modes of communication. Originally an Olympic gymnast, Mary’s professional dance career began at Ballet Rambert in 1969.

Jonathan Raisin

Jonathan Raisin is a composer, musician and writer based in Liverpool. Over a varied career he has performed in swimming pools, a piano shop, a forest and numerous falling down buildings as well as more traditional venues. He works regularly with educational, arts and cultural organisations to create projects that give a voice to individuals and communities. His own artistic practice has involved work in music, theatre, art installation and site-specific performance and has been commissioned by major national venues and for broadcast.

2019: Where the Arts Belong Project Launches

Jan - Jun 2019

Where the Arts Belong was launched, featuring artists who embarked on residencies at the Belong Village in Crewe. Here, the artists spent time engaging with residents, their families, and staff members.

While experienced at working with others, this was the first time each artist had worked in a dementia setting - beginning a mutually supportive journey with the Bluecoat’s Participation team, led by artist and facilitator Tabitha Moses.

Below, you can watch our commissioned film that showcases the artists' interactions and their creative endeavours during the project's launch.

Film Maker: Edwin Pink

Jun 2019

The artists embarked on a one day workshop titled: Experiments in Making at Belong Crewe.

The workshop celebrated the processes and artefacts from the previous residencies at Belong Village in Crewe, and showed the outcomes of previous sessions that included: ceramics, film works, audio works, a movement workshop and poetry.

2020 - Where the Arts Begin

Jan - Mar 2020

Roger Hill and Mary Prestidge conducted group art sessions at The Atkinson in Southport for individuals living with dementia, as well as their loved ones and support networks.

These sessions actively engaged with the museum's collections, drawing inspiration from them.

Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, five out of fourteen workshops had taken place.

Nov 2020 - Sep 2021

Regrettably, the global pandemic interrupted all in-person work on the project.

In response, Francisco Carrasco teamed up with other artists to launch Where the Arts Belong at Home, in collaboration with Belong's Home Care Division.

This initiative aimed to foster connections between customers and community support workers through telephones and iPads.

Where the Arts Training Belong at Home - artists and participation team connect via Zoom.

2021 - We Belong Together

Feb - May 2021