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Conversations for YOUR Doorstep

A pilot supported by Creative Ireland Arts for Older People in 2021, this is focus on the individual & groups needs during a time when isolation amongst older people has been amplified. Using our Reconnect toolkit we engaged remotely and safely, ‘your doorstep’ means the person or group decides where, via care staff, an actual doorstep or zoom depending on wishes or requirements.

Projects or session themes are open and may be used as individuals wish, such as ‘a day in the life …’ this could be about a memory, dress, stroll, shoes, place to be memory, treat, song, poem, view, job, photo…and/or ‘A View’, ‘This is me’ or and most importantly participant suggested.

Aims: Expand and make art in 2022 by tailoring projects and infrastructure for those involved, abiding by safety guidelines, to help mitigate the negative impact and difficulties of loneliness, visibility, and isolation people may have in Offaly.

Objective: Deliver and support positive ageing & creative engagements for older people that not only accommodates prevailing public health guidance in the community and for residential care facilities but also brings conversations and enjoyment. Outcomes include social engagements & creativity for participants.

This Is Me

During a time of unpredictability, myself and fellow Anam Beo artist, Jackie Lynch partnered to support three activity nurses working across three wards at Birr Community Nursing Unit in developing their digital skills and confidence in using apps, audio and video recording, while focusing on their chosen theme, ‘This is Me’.

Working collaboratively with the activity staff, 11 narratives were developed using a combination of archival photography, reminiscence, familial contribution, song, audio and video. The narratives are a rich and diverse combination of personal experience, exploring the joy & complexities of family life; employment; education; health; emigration; bereavement; military service; holidays; farming; Traveller Culture; theatrical engagement & sport.

A heartfelt thank you to Leilagh Hogan, Annette Gannon & Paula Kennedy. The relationship between participant & activity staff member was pivotal to the project process. They knew who would get the most out of being involved, what times of the day the participants would engage best and when they needed to rest. It’s important to acknowledge the commitment of the activity staff to the project because throughout technical hitches, multiple lock downs & redeployments they didn’t waver and were determined to bring the narratives to fruition, even bringing in family members to support the process. All involved worked collectively to publish their stories in this engaged and creative collaboration. Rowena Keaveny & Jackie Lynch, Anam Beo Artists.

Note from Activity Staff; Initially we were a little wary as to how we were going to get this project off the ground, especially when Covid 19 put a spanner in the works when the artists couldn’t meet with the residents personally. That’s where I, Annette & Paula stepped in. It was tough and at times we wondered if we were going to be able to pull this off. Pull it off we did, we thanks to the beautiful stories, the help and intervention from the families of the residents involved together with the Anam Beo team. Leilagh Hogan.

Mammy Coming Home with the Twins

A compilation of our engagements.

“There’s always a cat…”

Gallery being updated on page 2.

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