An innovative Angus project has captured the seasons in art and word in the latest stage of pioneering work to help those affected by dementia.
The Kirriemuir Connections hub linked with the town’s Bank Street Gallery to put on a showcase of art created as part of the Orlang project, led by award-winning singer Christine Kydd and local artist Maureen Crosbie.
Orlang is the old Scots name for ‘year long’ and for the past eight months Christine and Maureen have been running monthly workshops based around seasonal themes in the dementia hub.
Singer Christine, who was inducted into the Scottish traditional music Hall of Fame at the end of the last year said the work had built on another successful initiative involving the spoken word.
“It’s really exciting to pilot this project with a visual artist after such a great start to the Living Voices work delivered by the team I worked with at Scottish poetry library,” she said.
Living Voices was a national programme developed by the Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
It offered older people, usually in care homes, activities that used a mix of story, song and poetry to prompt conversation, reminiscence and creative response.
The initiative was also aimed at supporting wellbeing, social connection and staff development.”
Christine added: “Maureen has a huge amount of experience in facilitating art.
“We have had a great deal of fun, and the conversations and artwork are fascinating.”
Maureen said “Working with the people at Kirrie Connections is a real privilege.
“The Orlang project developed by Christine and I, based on the seasons of the year, is a great exercise in orientation and creativity.
“We’ve both learned a lot about living in the moment, and the stories that the members relate about their lives and work are both enlightening and entertaining.”
The Orlang project is the latest strand of work for the Kirrie Connections dementia hub based in the heart of the town, which earlier this month celebrated its place as the first Scottish meeting centre in the international roll-out of a successful European health model.
First established in the Netherlands more than 20 years ago, meeting centres are designed to be a social club where people living with dementia and their family carers can gather to participate in activities, make friends and get help tailored to their individual needs.
Kirrie Connections has worked closely on the meeting centre project with academics from Worcester University, who were involved in a Europe-wide study of their effectiveness.