What Next? tells the story of four artists who worked with older people on a project that broke the mould. The What Next? programme includes the Arts and Ageing Podcast series, the Arts and Ageing Workshops and the Arts and Ageing e-Publication, all providing a toolkit for those working with older people. All of these resources reflect on real life projects that go beyond the normal templates for working with older people.
What Next? is an outcome of Creative Enquiry – Arts and Older People, a project that creatively explored fresh approaches to arts engagement with older people in 2019 supported by The Arts Council Invitation to Collaboration Scheme. Three artist-residencies were hosted by three organisations: Cork Midsummer Festival, Music Alive and SIRIUS with the support of Cork City and County Councils, Age & Opportunity and the HSE.
Dancer and choreographer Helga Deasy and musician and choir leader Susan McManamon worked with MusicAlive on two artist residencies at Nazareth House, a nursing home in Mallow, and at Mayfield Men’s Shed. Visual artist Marie Brett worked with Cork Midsummer Festival on a project called Cultural Lore – the idea was that knowledge can be lost from our collective consciousness as technological advances replace more traditional manual methods. Working with SIRIUS in Cobh, the focus of visual artist Colette Lewis’s enquiry was to consider new approaches to arts engagement with older people that are more accessible and innovative within a regional context.
As part of What Next?, the Arts and Ageing Podcast produced by Ellie O’Byrne is being released on Monday 4 October, kicking off with two episodes, Local Know-How with Colette Lewis, parts one and two, including Kevin Jones’ contributions as an ex-fisherman from Cobh. This will be followed by Cultural Lore with Marie Brett, part one on 11 October and part two on 18 October. Further episodes will include Freedom to Fly with Helga Deasy and Susan McManamon part one on 1 November, part two on 8 November, and part three on 15 November. The final concluding episode, to be released on 21 November, will feature a critical reflection by Ellie O’Byrne.
Workshops on planning and delivering arts programming in relation to older people will take place in November, each delivered by representatives of the partner organisations. On 9 November Kevin O’ Shanahan, Creative Director of MusicAlive, will deliver a workshop with artists Helga Deasy and Susan McManamon; on 10 November, Allyson O’Sullivan, Festival Manager at Cork Midsummer Festival, will deliver a workshop with Marie Brett; on 11 November Miguel Amado, Director of SIRIUS, will deliver a workshop with artist Colette Lewis. These will be followed by one-to-one mentor sessions for registered participants with Miguel Amado and the artists. Free, but booking essential via the Eventbrite page of SIRIUS.
Finally in December the Arts and Ageing e-Publication will be published. This digital publication will be freely available and will include a summary of learnings and findings as well as recommendations.