During the Easter break, this fantastic group of young people joined Sarah Greenhalgh, Sarah Vining and me to start work on making a youth arts festival a reality for Wales. The project has been commissioned by Arts Council of Wales and we are working as Associates of Ceridwen. By the end of August 2014 we will produce a report which details the practical and organisational implications.
This work is being led by young people – after all, they’re the experts on what they want. We are delighted to have a team which includes people from all parts of Wales and represents a wide range of artforms and approaches.
Can’t wait to start taking them to other festivals in Wales, UK and beyond so they can really clarify what could work in Wales.
Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions about what the Festival should include.
“It will never rain roses. When we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.”
Thus wrote the wonderful George Eliot.
I’ve experienced some wonderfully positive meetings over the past week. It makes such a difference to making things happen. Like the Town Centre Manager in Merthyr Tydfil; I am setting up a photography project with Looked After Children and we want to have somewhere public to show their work. Such as an empty shop. I expected to have to persuade and cajole. But there was an immediate response: “Yes, I think we can do that.”
And then there was the final music session for service users with dementia, at Minerva Street Day Centre in Bridgend. The unit is led by the wonderfully enthusiastic Paula. “It’s been amazing,” she said of the six sessions run by Live Music Now’s Triptych. One lady had not engaged at all at the beginning and on the final day she joined in and said with a smile, “we haven’t had anything like this for a long time.”
Feels like roses are being planted all over the Valleys. Despite the never-ending rain.
Christmas is definitely here. Just been to a wonderful Christmas carol concert in Porth, Rhondda, at Dan y Mynydd Residential Home for people with dementia. Felt privileged to be coordinating this project.
Please erase all preconceptions of homes for the elderly from your mind. This place is homely, fun and lively. Evidence of an unconventional approach can be seen in my photo of the table in the corner!
The concert followed several weeks of Karl Daymond setting up a choir with the residents and staff. It’s part of the ‘Being Creatively Active’ programme of work, run by ArtsConnect, the cultural service for Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Vale of Glamorgan local authorities.
Increasing research shows the value of music projects for people with Alzheimers and other dementia conditions. One theory is that musical memories are connected to the amygdala, the part of the brain which has a primary role in processing memory and emotions. So we remember music and song when other functions have begun to fade.