We Are Family curated by Cambridge Art Salon explores the benefits of intergenerational and family arts in the community, bringing together a challenging programme of workshops, networking and critical dialogue from leading artists – showcased throughout 2016. The project aims to explore how collaboration between community groups, arts organisations, residents and artists can help those who wouldn’t normally engage with the arts in and around Cambridge, both access high quality art and strengthen their own communities.
It also sees the development of a new Family Arts Network for Cambridgeshire, as part of the nationwide Family Arts Campaign. Parents, community groups and arts organisations called to get involved.
Partners for We Are Family currently include Turtle Dove, Care Network, My Cambridge, Romsey Mill. Special thanks to Cambridge Junction, Cubitt Arts, Cambridge City Council and Suzy Oakes Trust.
Pearls of Wisdom
As part of We Are Family, Pearls of Wisdom uses contemporary art to celebrate the voices of older people in our lives. Day centres, care homes and families in and around Cambridge are invited to help elderly people they know to produce a ‘pearl of wisdom’, through conversation with younger people, at a series of artist-led workshops. What nugget of wisdom have you learned in your life? What advice would you give to your younger self? Mixed age participants are invited to turn resulting ‘pearls’ into their own artworks spanning a range of challenging media, from spoken word, performance, to light art and installation, as part of We Are Family, a new project from Cambridge Art Salon exploring intergenerational and family arts.
The concept grew out of ‘pearls of wisdom’ created for an intergenerational tea dance hosted by Turtle Dove at Mill Road’s Ditchburn Place day centre in September, as part of Cambridge Art Salon’s Eastside Creates, spanning Abbey, Petersfield, Coleridge and Romsey Town, which was also part of the nationwide BBC Get Creative Family Arts Festival 2015. Cambridge Art Salon invited Turtle Dove to host the tea dance with support from Cambridge City Council, inspired by London art organisation Cubitt Arts who host an intergenerational Spring Ball for the elderly every year.
Community partners are also invited to support the project through helping us document the impact of Pearls of Wisdom, in the communities hosting the workshops. For example, how can family and intergenerational arts activities improve communities, inspire positive change, or promote social cohesion? How can a collaborative approach help those that do not normally engage with the arts, access them?
Intergenerational activities like Pearls of Wisdom are essential for breaking down the barriers between generations. Both older and younger people benefit. We know from our Navigator service that there are fewer opportunities for arts activities in the Fenland area. We know that being creative and involved in a community are important elements for a person’s wellbeing. A project that brings people together and allows them to express themselves, to learn from each other and to develop relationships are all really positive elements in supporting a community to build its own capacity and resilience. Lynne Mcauley, Care Network www.care-network.org.uk