Elders in Our Care

AC_logoIn 2009 Age Exchange received a major grant from Arts Council England to support a unique project on the history and development of care for and by older people, from the pre-war pre NHS period through to the present day.

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The project enabled Age Exchange to carry out group and one to one recorded interviews with Londoners, who shared powerful and important memories of care, for and by older people. Memories of care carried out by families and between neighbours before the advent of the NHS were often profoundly moving. As were interviews with older members of the Salvation Army who recalled caring for the homeless before the war. And one interviewee recalled her very first day as a qualified nurse working in a geriatric hospital (a former workhouse) which happened to be the very first day the National Health Service came into being in 1948.

The project had a series of creative outcomes designed to ensure maximum opportunities for public engagement and learning. This was made possible by the many partnerships Age Exchange created with organisations, care home, museums, libraries and schools who joined Elders in Our Care.

Age Exchange’s production “To Care For” based on Londoners’ memories of family, community, and institutionalised care previewed at Greenwich Theatre on the 31st of July and 1st August 2009.

The play, entirely based on real life experience, received many plaudits from the London public including care professionals, participants, audience and contributors.

The making of “To Care For” and the devising process that led to the production were made into a film documentary “A Healthy Risk”

The final element of this unique programme of work was the creation of the touring arts exhibition
“Care”
, which opened at Greenwich Heritage Centre on the 14th August 2009 before touring London wide galleries and museums throughout 2009 and 2010.

“Care” was a series of art works by artists Tanya Kaprielian and Tim Sutton that explore the issue of care across the generations. For six months working alongside carers across London, the artists conducted projects and interviews with older people, carers and healthcare professionals. These works reflected the artists’ personal experience of the project, and the emotive subject of what it is to be a carer or to be cared for.

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