Members of YoungDementia UK have joined us!
We are absolutely delighted to welcome members of YoungDementia UK and their families, friends and support staff into the Ashmolean. Over 5 weeks we are discovering, learning and sharing our creative responses, memories, thoughts and feelings, using the Manet portrait as a spring board. It will also give everyone the opportunity to learn more about art, be artistic themselves, use their artistic and musical talents, meet new people, join in with a social activity and feel confident in visiting a museum.
YoungDementia UK is a charity set up to offer support to people affected by young onset dementia. Over the last year, in my outreach role covering all the Oxford University museums and collections, I have been working with YoungDementia UK, attending their ‘Like Minds’ groups. These are social groups that meet in cafes, garden centres, pubs and are an opportunity for people to meet up, have a chat, be sociable, offer and get peer support from people who are living with, or have family members with, young onset dementia.
Now, interested members are visiting the Ashmolean for this project: 12 members and their families / support staff (approx 24 in total) are joining us.
Our first week started with a walk around (part of) the Ashmolean, up to the Western Art Gallery in which Manet’s portrait hangs. Each member had a digital camera or ipad which they used to capture images of objects or paintings they liked. These were printed out immediately so they could take the photos of the visit home to share with their family.
It was great just to ‘be’ in the museum. There was nothing to rush about for, the sole aim was to enjoy strolling through, seeing an array of artistic styles and objects and to enjoy chatting to others as we went. We then shared a lunch together in the Ashmolean cafe which everyone felt was jsut what we needed: yummy food and an opportunity for people to eat together and relax.
The next activities we had organise were artistic and musical. These both encouraged responses to the painting ands also people to share memories, stories, thoughts and ideas. These will be covered in the next blog posts……..