St Francis of Assisi

Crossroad Arts has partnered with St Francis of Assisi to deliver workshops and new works for the past three years. 

These workshops aim to connect the elders of our community using creative techniques pioneered in Ageing Creatively models.

Story telling is an integral part of the workshops and are translated using several methods employed by Crossroad Arts artsworkers Wanda Bennett, Autumn Skuthorpe and Dougal Mclauchlan.

 

Currently Wanda Bennett is utilising her extensive background in community arts and visual arts to weave new stories and works with residents of St Francis of Assisi.

Running parallel to this program, artsworkers Dougal Mclauchlan and Autumn Skuthorpe are engaging residents from the memory units and mainstream units using movement, live soundscape and music, timeslips and improvised performance.

 

The projects aim to make threads with the wider community and give voice to those who have spent longest on this earth. As a result of a recent Crossroad Arts performance, Letters on Gordon St, audience members were able to write letters to the residents of St Francis of Assisi. This simple action illustrated a greater awareness of including our elders in community. Wanda Bennett was able to hand deliver these special letters to individuals, using a past time method of communicating to connect multiple generations together. 

 

Movement: Dougal Mclauchlan comes from a circus and physical movement background, he is able to work with the residents in dance, mirroring techniques and physical theatre elements to respond in the moment. After engaging the residents in exercise, there are greater moments of lucidity and these techniques certainly set the mood and focus of the workshop.

 

Music: Dougal Mclauchlan and Autumn Skuthorpe use live music; ukulele, melodica and percussion, to raise the atmosphere of the environment. The lyrics of song responding to residents own story - "I am going Home..."/"I remember when..." 

Music is a universal language to communicate; it allows residents and artsworkers to meet in the middle for an exchange of human connection, eye contact and trust.

 

Timeslips: Timeslips are a creative method used to reinterpret the focus of memory into story telling. This method has been employed extensively in the US and Europe and has shown wonderful results for residents and staff alike. A photograph is presented to the workshop group and open ended questions are used to prompt a dialogue about the image. There are no right or wrong answers. And the dialogue is documented verbatim. This document is taken then and typed up alongside the photograph and reads like a poem or creative story. Printing this out and providing it to the residents illustrates their highly imaginative abilities. The stories are beautiful and complete pieces; they also allow family and staff to recognise the ability of the residents, particularly those experiencing Dementia or Alzheimer's. 

 

 

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Artsworker Wanda Bennett's Visual Arts Workshop at St Francis of Assisi

 

 

 

 

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Letters On Gordon Street, a letter written by audience member and hand delivered to a resident of St Francis of Assisi

 

 

 

 

 

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Artswoker Autumn Skuthorpe Music and Movement Workshop

 

 

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Time Slip: 

Painting the Bridge

 

That lady on the front of the chair. People trying to escape, they are decorating, they’re watching…that’s the thing. The man, he is peeping.

This lady has to go to work and then she picks up this thing. Buggered if I know.

He’s got a nail that’s bleeding. Fingers.

A hand, fingers. They grab the little apricot. What’s that got to do with all those things?

The building of a school.

The only thing I notice is the not so blue background.

Are they sitting outside?

Climbing of the ladder.

The building.

Written By: Les, Frank, Sheila, Margaret, Beryl F, Pat F, Carmel, Ledger, Thelma, Jack, Selia, Erin, Colleen, Norma F, Elsa.

Photo: Steve Mayer Miller