Joanna Hopkins awarded the inaugural Bealtaine Artist's Residency in a care setting

Joanna Hopkins awarded the inaugural Bealtaine Artist's Residency in a care setting

The Bealtaine Festival, celebrating the arts and creativity as we age, has awarded visual artist Joanna Hopkins the inaugural Bealtaine Artist’s Residency in a care setting. Bealtaine, working with AzureCreative Exchanges and in association with the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), have developed this artist’s residency within a care setting that specialises in caring for older people with dementia.


Joanna will engage with the Orchard Day Care Centre in Blackrock, Co. Dublin and its residents over four months. Central to Joanna’s interest is the function and importance of the garden at Orchard Day Care Centre. Working with visitors and staff at the centre, Joanna will be creating sensory audio artworks using garden plants.

Interactive objects that reflect participants’ everyday experiences will also be developed. Having researched the brain and through previous workings with dementia patients, Joanna will underpin her work with reminiscence and memory, triggering this through sensory stimulation.

About Joanna Hopkins

Joanna’s residency will commence in September 2017.  

You can find out more about Joanne, and her work, at her website

About Orchard Day Care

The Orchard Day Centre welcomes 20 persons with dementia to the Centre each day. The Centre opens from 9am to 4 pm. We welcome people with different diagnoses – vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy Bodies and many others. People are at different stages of their journey and so we offer a range of activities. At present there are exercise sessions, art and craft, computer classes using a tablet, gardening, quizzes, live music, and drama therapy and baking. The Centre has a small spa room where we offer blowdrys and manicures. We also offer showers to those struggling with personal care at home. It is a critical part of our approach to care that there is no pressure on anyone to participate; we have a beautiful bright Centre with lovely spaces where those who access the service can read the paper or a magazine, watch the Smart TV or simply relax. Our days are influenced by the season – in summertime we spend a lot of time in the garden eating ice-cream but at this time of year there are more movies and hot chocolates! The garden is a particularly wonderful resource – space to sit outdoors, take a walk or pick flowers. We are romantics here at The Orchard and often encourage our gentlemen to pick flowers for their partners! As a team we understand we are not perfect – there is always more we can do or days that we are short staffed and end up inviting everyone to play bingo because it is perhaps the easier choice. But we are on a journey to improve and grow. And as part of this we are very eager to welcome Artists to the Orchard. We serve a light breakfast/morning tea, homemade soup around 12noon, lunch at 1pm and afternoon tea. This schedule is flexible and influenced by the needs of our clients and the activities of the day. There is a Nurse present at the Centre each day and we endeavor to promote health and wellbeing for our clients. We monitor mood, physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as more formal medical issues.” Clodagh Whelan, Manager of Orchard Day Care