Creative Encounters with Spitalfields Music

Spitalfields Music is extremely proud to announce the launch of our new creative residencies in care homes. Workshops for Creative Encounters (formerly Endless Imagination) will begin in Aspen Court in January 2019, and ultimately expand to three Tower Hamlets care homes.

Following the success of the Living Arts pilot projects, which took place at Aspen Court Care Home in 2016 and 2017, Creative Encounters will work with older people and staff in local care homes to transform their experiences and environment. Dr Chai Patel, of HC-One who manage Aspen Court, described the impact of the Living Arts Project:

“What we’ve seen here today, and what I’ve seen over the last few weeks is that the work [Spitalfields Music] are doing is unlocking new experiences, unlocking new expressions, engagement between the residents, the staff and the relatives. We’re onto something here, something really quite special.”

Creative Encounters will engage 180 older people, 100 staff and 60 volunteers in three care homes across Tower Hamlets, with creative sessions, mentoring and consultation over a period of three years (2019–2021). Lead Artist Julian West and Researcher Hannah Zeilig will lead a multi-disciplinary team of artists to deliver creative sessions with residents, including those living with dementia, staff and local community members. The artists will focus on making art spontaneously, led by care home residents and staff and in a way that encourages new relationships to be forged.

Rather than focusing on reminiscence, memory or the past, the project and approaches are about creativity in the here and now.

“Rather than thinking of the arts as a therapy, or as something that is used instrumentally, we wanted to explore the possibilities of engaging with people’s creativity” – Julian West

Through Creative Encounters, we will explore the ways that older people can continue to develop as creative individuals in order to improve not only their quality of life and well-being but also that of those around them.

Read Hannah Zeilig’s report from the 2016 Living Arts pilot project by downloading her Critical Review from the right-hand download bar.

Creative Encounters has been made possible thanks to generous support from Clifford & Fiona AtkinsThe Big Give 2018 supporters, City Bridge Trust, Chapman Charitable Trust, French Huguenot Church of London Charitable Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Mercers’ Company, Merchant Taylors’ Company, Rayne Foundation and Kim & Philip Stopford.

Image from a series of illustrations done by Kate Munro during the 2016 pilot project.