Visual Matrix to extend engagement with older people

TWCT Report – UNSW

The aim of this project was to go deep into the community to hear from older people. From the people whose voices are least heard and to find out from them their wants, needs, views and opinions.

The project used innovative arts-based approaches, such as the Visual Matrix (VM) (Froggett, Manley, & Roy, 2015), to explore the wants and needs of older members of the local community. A network of people and organisations was established to complete the project and for further ongoing research. Researchers at the Ageing Futures Institute (AFI) and felt Experience and Empathy Lab (fEEL) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) partnered with TWT Property Group (TWT) and The Bridging Hope Charity Foundation (BHCF) local councils, galleries and organisations on the North Shore of Sydney.

The project was part of the Big Anxiety, a mental health related arts festival, a Sydney-wide event, taking place in Sydney in 2019. The project was inclusive engaging with older people with a range of cognitive and physical access needs, with people who were familiar with art and those who were not, and with intergenerational groups. It highlighted a range of anxieties, concerns and joys of older people and how communities can be adapted to support the needs of an ageing population.

These walls could talk

The These Walls Could Talk (TWCT) project engaged with a wide range of people on the North Shore of Sydney. It used a public art installation as stimuli to prompt conversations about what older people feel, think and want in a visual matrix (VM) style engagement. The artwork was commissioned by TWT property group and produced by Bec Dean and curated by Tulleah Pearce. It was a large-scale, site specific installation consisting of 20 artworks at 12 sites along Atchison Lane, St Leonards, the surrounding area, and on the campus at Bradfield Senior College. In addition, images of the artwork in situ were exhibited at the Bradfield Senior College Gallery.

The project built upon the design and text-based work of Cameron Cripps- Kennedy and was developed using a participatory and collaborative process. Cripps-Kennedy and poet, Omar Sakr worked with students at Bradfield Senior College, St Leonards to create poetic texts about mental health and connection to place. TWCT brings issues around mental health into the public realm, reflecting on the possibilities for creating living and working environments that are conducive to better mental health.

Project Partners: TWT Property Group, Bridging Hope Charity Foundation (BHCF), Ageing Futures Institute (AFI), University of New, South Wales (UNSW), fEEL (Felt Experience and Empathy Lab), UNSW, University Central Lancashire, UK, Events, The Big Anxiety (TBA), The Ageing Program at TBA, Councils, City of Ryde, North Sydney Council, Willoughby Council, Lane Cove Council, College, Bradfield Senior College, the School for Creative, Industries, Aged care facilities and community centres, Baptist Care, Catholic Care, Waverton Hub, Christian Community Aid, Dougherty Centre, Holdsworth, Hunters Hill Day Centre, North Ryde Community Aid & Information Centre, Community Services, Sydney Community Services, Lane Cove and Northside community Services,, Hunters Hill Ryde Community Services, Galleries, Bradfield Senior College Gallery, Artspace, The Concourse, Chatswood, Gallery Lane Cove, Acknowledgements, UNSW and AFI would like to thank our project partners, all participants, the artists and curators, Anke Timm,, Ariel Zhang and Annie Carvajal, Meredith Melville-Jones and Kim-Louise Kofod., Funding was received from the Ageing Futures Institute, University of New South Wales, ,

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