Annie Gould with GETTING ON automaton with Robert Race Artist and OSJCT resident
Annie Gould New Brewery Arts GETTING ON Project

Aims and Objectives: To commission an older artist who, whilst exploring their own ageing, would create a dynamic piece of new art for those with some of the least access to public art - the cared for elderly.  
For the work to be made accessible to over 1,600 older people in care.
To provide a stimulating resource  and promote continuing creativity for their improved wellbeing.
To contribute to the debate about the benefits of continuing creativity for wellbeing  
To put the wellbeing benefits of continued creativity on the agenda of carehome managers.
To provide an engaging focal point for residents, staff and visitors to be enjoyed equally and together

Funding Sources
Baring Foundation’s Late Style Programme
In kind: tour funding: OSJCT  
ACE G4A:  to deliver a public exhibition around the commission and create an associated programme of additional care home visits, creative workshops.

Time Scale:
Delivery Dates:
Commission/associated workshops Jan - July 2015.
Launch: July 4 2015
Exhibition Gloucester Cathedral: Sept 2015
Exhibition New Brewery Arts Oct 2015
Workshops/Carehome visits Oct - Dec 2015.  
Tour of 18 care homes / conferences Dec 2015 - Nov 2017.
Context, location and setting:
Getting On tours and works with and in  18+ care homes;
Public exhibitions;
Dementia conferences.

The artist took inspiration visiting residents at Millbrook Lodge Brockworth, where Getting on launched. The work was exhibited at Gloucester Cathedral and as part of an exhibition of Races’ work at New Brewery Arts  including 5 carehome visits with follow up pilot workshops.
Work currently on tour to homes in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire,  Lincolnshire.
Featured at Dementia UK Nov 2015, Creative Dementia Arts Network 2016, Oxford and will attend RSPH First International Research Conference on the Arts March 2017.  

Description of the arts activity

Artistic approach: Getting On by Robert Race is an automated sculpture - art that moves in simple but ingenious ways.  Our decision to commission an automaton artist followed visitor response to  Race’s work at a previous New Brewery Arts exhibition. Feedback demonstrated how accessible, interesting and exciting his work is for people of all ages and abilities. Our experience working with the elderly in care and discussions with The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) underpinned confidence that Race’s tactile sculpture would be a stimulating addition for older people including those with varying levels of cognitive impairment.  Race’s theme ‘you don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing’, echoed previous project experience that continuing creativity and making by hand are beneficial and have an important but often ignored place in all our lives.  
Race took inspiration from residents at Millbrook Lodge and took into consideration the spectrum of resident’s needs/abilities to  create a playful ,thought provoking sculpture accessible on many levels with kinetic elements, sound, ephemera and poetry.  It is portable to move between care homes.

Blue prints of linked workshops devised by Race were piloted and refined at New Brewery Arts.  These accompany the sculpture for use by Activity coordinators on the tour.

Medium: Sculpture: driftwood, found objects, poetry, paper.
Participant engagement:  Designed for resident interaction and to excite visual and auditory interest Residents listen, move handles to make things happen, delight in poetry and objects in hidden draws.  Residents and families play together, a distraught wanderer is distracted and calmed, a resident rediscovers a poem from their childhood. The sculpture is a beautiful public artwork which stands out in bland surroundings and provides a tool for inspiring Activity coordinators to deliver creative moving craft workshops.

Details of the project participants

Target: 1600 older people in residential care in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Lincolnshire.
Secondary targets:  Policy Makers, Care Home Managers, Academics, General public

Method of recruitment/referral
Invited to take part by staff/ family member consulted.  

Project management

Roles and responsibilities:  
Devise, fundraise
Budget setting, management
Commissioning Artist
Liaison Partners/Care home managers.
Managing tour
Press / Marketing
Volunteer management
Maintenance supervision
Blue Print testing
Film Commissioning
Preparing papers and presenting.

Quality Assurance.
One of 11 Baring commissions and recipient of Arts Council Funding.
Ethics and consent:  All participation voluntary and visits agreed with participants or family members.
Photographic consents given.

Evaluation methods and findings

Learning and or outcomes for the project:
Exhibition Visitor books
Written Questionnaires( workshops -based on Warwick Edinburg Wellbeing Scale)  
Resident and staff feedback from visits (assistance given)
Anecdotal from Care homes, artist and NBA staff .
You Tube views (Film).  

Key findings
Staff and residents are excited to receive Getting ON into their homes.

Getting On gives as much pleasure to an academic at a conference as a resident, transcending age and abilities.  Older people  with early or mid stage dementia are no different to anyone else in what they might enjoy.  They just require experiences to be adapted to be accessible.

Questionnaire feedback (appendix 1): The project has reinforced our experience that older people in care enjoy creative activities (93% strongly agreed). Workshops improved mood and sociability (86% strongly agreed), improved confidence and skills (62% strongly agreed). Disengaged and aggressive residents became engaged and calm.
‘One of the best ever - I feel I could tackle anything now as I wasn't very confident beforehand.
 I feel really proud and I feel like saying I made that and shouting it out! (this lady was very difficult,
abusive and reluctant to take part at the beginning of the session,)’,
Residents become alert and motivated. ‘I was so tired to start with but I enjoyed it and now I feel much more awake’  
Conversations and laughter in great evidence ‘Enjoyable to see everyone joining together.   I also had a great day at NBA.  I never went in the 50 years I lived in Cirencester and think of all I missed!’

Residents benefited most in homes where activity coordinators are highly valued and well supported by care staff. (Project manager observation)

Residents enjoyed well  structured workshops  
‘I enjoyed that – we are just sat in our room.  We have actually finished what we did and we never do that.  Things are half done and never seen again’.

It is difficult to get meaningful feedback about benefits to residents due to lack of care home manager engagement, time constraints and care priorities.  Anecdotally the automaton is well received and used by residents and visitors.

Care homes differ widely and  residents enjoyment of workshops/visits  went better in care homes where we were allowed to build relationships with key staff.

It is very difficult to take residents on visits requiring huge effort and lots of volunteer help - some homes better at this than others.

We had resources for 8 - 10 residents per workshop.  This was just 10% of home residents and these were those most able to attend. How can we can deliver meaningful experiences to the other 90%?

Appendix 1:feedback from workshops in care homes led by Robert Race and New Brewery Arts.  

Feedback from Care home tour for Arts Council not complete as tour does not end until Nov 2017.

Details of published or unpublished reports on the project:  

Appendix 2:  Report to Baring Foundation.

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England