Older People

Unpicking contemporary art with Gorton Visual Arts Charlston dancingMary Greg workshopOlder Adults

Some of our longest standing partnerships and most ambitious projects are with groups of older people

Older people make up a large part of the gallery's audience and we value their input and the support they give to the gallery. This is reflected in our community projects with groups of older people, all of which are designed in collaboration with the participants and many of which have resulted in artworks of very high quality. See below for past projects with groups of older people.

"Participating in a project at the gallery is very beneficial to us as old people for our health and our spirit. We can come out of our house and do something and contribute to something in the gallery. We feel more fulfilled in life and have something to look forward to." 
Wai Yin Chinese Women's Society participant 

If you belong to a community group in Manchester and you’d like to find out more about community projects at Manchester Art Gallery, contact Ruth Edson or Helena Lee on:

Tel: 0161 235 8877
Email: h.lee1@manchester.gov.uk 
            r.edson@manchester.gov.uk

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Examples of projects

Unpicking contemprary art #2

2013

Unpacking Contemporary Art Unpicking contemporary art with Gorton Visual Arts Unpicking contemporary art with Gorton Visual Arts Unpicking contemporary art with Gorton Visual Arts Unpacking Contemporary Art

Unpicking Contemporary Art is a ten-week programme for older adults, which aims to help people feel more comfortable with contemporary art.

Manchester Art Gallery ran a ten-week programme in November and December 2013, in partnership with Gorton Visual Arts. The course included a fast, fun and interactive introduction to the ‘isms’ of the last century with gallery curator Kate Jesson. The following sessions were devised by members of the group and responded to key themes of class, working lives and insustry found in the exhibitions All that is solid melts into air by Jeremy Deller and The vanity of small differences by Grayson Perry.  The group chose to create a series of ceramic tiles with artist Brigitte Soltau, based on the demise of pubs on Hyde Rd in Gorton.

Between Two Worlds

2013

Extract of Night by Thomas DugdaleBalance Sculpture Charlston dancing

Between Two Worlds was a Thursday Late event, organised by Valuing Older People cultural champions and members of the organisations: Studio One, Out in the City and Active at 60+. The groups consisted of 10 people who met several times to plan a Thursday Late inspired by the Between the Wars exhibition. The event took place on 13 June 2013 and was a great success with over 350 attending.

The content for the night aimed to include something for everyone. The night began with a talk by curator Kate Jesson and live music from Graffiti BarberShop Quartet.  A whole host of interactive activities followed, including peace-time knitting with artist Jim Giles, balance sculptures with Ray Meredith and artist Sarah Marsh, sharing stories using the Gallery’s Mary Greg collection and taking a closer look at 20s and 30s fashion, making headpieces. The evening ended with a fabulous hour of Charleston Dancing led by Anthony Padget.

‘I thought it was a wonderful night. I don’t usually go out at night. I brought a 90 year old friend with me and we had a wonderful time. Kate was perfect. She wasn’t too long, she gave sufficient information. She should have a pat on the back!’  Participant of Between Two Worlds

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Unpicking Contemporary Art #1

2012

Unpicking contemporary art  Unpicking contemporary art Unpicking contemporary art

Being a non-believer, my whole way of looking at art has changed. It’s been a huge success for me. William

Unpicking Contemporary Art is a six-week programme for older adults, which aims to help people feel more comfortable with contemporary art.

Manchester Art Gallery ran a pilot programme in November and December 2012, in partnership with Studio One; a health and wellbeing creative provision, which is part of the MHSC NHS Trust in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Ten members of Studio One aged 50-75, attended the gallery each week for six weeks.

The course included a fast, fun and interactive introduction to the ‘isms’ of the last century with gallery curator Kate Jesson. The two following sessions were led by author and DJ Dave Haslem responding to themes within the exhibition Dreams without Frontiers and three final sessions involved artists Naomi Kendrick and Nicola Dale, using The First Cut exhibition as a starting point for experimenting with paper.

Dreams without Frontiers (May 2012- May 2013) features the work of two artists; a mixed-media installation by New York based Kelley Walker and a short film The Smithsons by Paris-born and Berlin based artist Cyprien Gaillard. Dave introduced eleven themes presented overty or covertly in the exhibition ranging from Sixties Utopia and High Rise Living to Manchester 2018. Members of the groups were invited to write a response to the themes and some of these were included in a book of essays exploring ideas related to Dreams without Frontiers, which is now available in the exhibition.

The First Cut (Oct 2012 – Jan 2013) featured 31 international artists who cut, sculpt and manipulate paper and transform this humble material into fantastical works of art. Flocks of birds and butterflies cut from maps appear alongside artworks that feature dark fairytale imagery. Guns and grenades fashioned from paper currency and sinister silhouettes comment on social, political and economic issues. Multi sensory artist, Naomi Kendrick encouraged the group to respond to the exhibition by responding creatively the word ‘cut’ and The First Cut artist, Nicola Dale introduced her work in the exhibition and inspired the participants to make their own book artworks.

'One of things that has worked well is when someone explains something, it triggers off things in my head and then it means a lot more to you. I’ve encouraged others to come to the gallery. I’ve been thoroughly enthused by it' Brian

'I was pleasantly surprised by the Visitor Services staff joining in our discussion in the gallery after the group had finished. He didn’t know the answer so he went off to find out and came back with the answer' Pauline

It’s such a shame that this has come to an end. It’s so compulsive. It’s important to do an intro to contemporary art again for people. It’s opened my eyes. We’ve carried on the conversation after the session every week.' William

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Mary Greg's collection of curiosities

2012

Mary Greg workshopMary Greg Valuing Older People Workshop

Mary Greg Valuing Older People Workshop Mary Greg workshop

 

The Mary Greg collection was fantastic.  It gets lonely when you get older and this has been the most meaningful conversation I've had for a long time. Miles Platting Age Concern Member

In 2011 and 2012, we delivered three pilot projects with George Halstead Court, Age Concern Miles Platting and the Manchester Nigerian Women's Group looking at the Mary Greg handling collection and what we collect and why.  The 4-week projects explored how Manchester Art Gallery can use the Mary Greg handling collection with older people’s groups in Manchester. 

Mary Greg was a compulsive collector who could not resist the curious and bizarre. She collected thousands of diverse objects during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s including basket ware, keys, thimbles and even stuffed frogs. She donated her large collection to the gallery in the 1930’s and even though there are many objects on display, there are also many in the store. The Mary Greg handling collection has been developed to provide children and adults with the opportunity to handle many of Mary’s objects.

The three pilot projects were a great success and we are rolling out this offer to other older adult groups in Manchester.  We can bring the Mary Greg collection of curiosities to you.

To find out more, please contact Ruth Edson:
Tel: 0161 2358877
Email:  r.edson@manchester.gov.uk

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 Pilkington's has inspired...

2010




Four animations inspired by our collection of Pilkington's pottery and informed by the participants' memories and experiences.

Members of LMCP Care Link (a support group for carers) and Wai Yin Chinese Women Society's older people's group workied with artist Tamzin Forster to produce four animated films.

 They were inspired by themes from nature and Aesop’s fable, The Fox and the Grapes, found on Pilkington’s pottery and tiles. These prompted reminiscences of childhood, home and storytelling.

"These sessions have reminded me of my childhood – some hidden things in myself have come out."

"It's been a good experience making animation and we’ve found its not as difficult as it sounds to make animation." 

These animations, along with the pottery and tiles that inspired them, were on display in the exhibition Exporting Beauty (Saturday 9 October 2010 - Sunday 9 October 2011).

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Our second home: Wai Yin 20 years on

2009

People at Wai Yin eventMembers of Sheung Lok: Wai Yin Women's Society elderly luncheon club worked with Manchester Art Gallery and textile artist Nina Chua. Together they created a dress, which commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Wai Yin. The garment is inspired by the achievements of Wai Yin over the past 20 years and Manchester City Galleries Chinese decorative arts and costume collection. The dress was on display in the Manchester Gallery between 2009 and 2011.

Project partners: Wai Yin Chinese Women's Society

Funding: Working Neighbourhood Fund, Arts Council England

Image © Manchester City Galleries

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Art Treasures Community Programme

2007

Paper theatre created by Birch Community CentrePeople from Collyhurst and Harpurhey, Rusholme and Wythenshawe create artwork inspired by the Art Treasures exhibition and the history of their local area.

Inspired by the content of the Art Treasures exhibition, nine groups of local people from Wythenshawe, Rusholme, Harpurhey and Collyhurst developed their own artwork celebrating their individual and community heritage over the past 150 years.

The fruits of this programme were exhibited in four unique exhibitions between October 07 and April 08.

Project partners: NCH Foundations, Churnet Street Sheltered Housing, The Addy Young People's Centre, Family Action Benchill, Tree of Life, Crescent Community High School for Girls, Birch Community Centre, Wythenshawe Forum, North City Library, Platt Fields Lakeside Centre.

Funding: Heritage Lottery Fund, Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.

Image © Manchester City Galleries

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Our Selves

2006

Portrait created by the Our Selves community projectExploring stereotypes and misconceptions with Age Concern’s Lesbian and Gay Social Group ‘Out in the City’.

Members of Age Concern’s Lesbian and Gay Social Group ‘Out in the City’ explored pre- and misconceptions in portraiture. They developed their own personal portraits by working with visual artist Jane McIver and photographer Ray Chan. A display of the portraits were shown in the Manchester Gallery during LGBT History Month in February 2006 and was also part of Pride 2006.

Image © Ray Chan

Project partner: Age Concern Manchester

Funding: Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Co-operative Insurance Society, Age Concern
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My heroes

Stories of inspirational people.

2005

Participant from the My Heroes project standing beside a pianoFive members of the local African Caribbean communities shared their stories of people who have inspired them. Drawing on the themes of heroes as explored in the Black Victorians exhibition, a film and display of personal objects that related to the exhibition were developed to create a contemporary record of black British heritage for future generations. These were incorporated into the exhibition from October 2005 to January 2006.  The film was on display in the Manchester Gallery between 2005 and 2010. 

Image © Andy Lawrence

Project partners: Urban Voice

Funding: Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Co-operative Insurance Society

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Object memories

2004

Two participants in an object handling sessionPersonal stories and interpretations of our Chinese collections by Chinese people living in Manchester.

Elders from the Wai-Yin Chinese Women’s Society explored Manchester Art Gallery’s collection of Chinese artefacts and wrote their own interpretations about the objects. This project resulted in a display in the Gallery of Craft & Design of the objects and text written by the group between 2004 and 2010.

Project partners: Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society

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Dragon boat

2003

Dragon Boat made by members of the Wai-Yin Chinese Women Society and artist Stephen Dixon, 2004Members from Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society Elders group worked together with ceramic artist Steve Dixon to create a sculpture of a Dragon Boat. The aim was to create a work of art that expressed pride in Chinese culture by heralding the rich history of ceramic art in China and reflecting the cultural and physical journey from China to Manchester. The Dragon Boat was on display in the Pride section of the Manchester Gallery between 2004 and 2011.

Project partners: Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society

Funding: Co-operative Insurance Society
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Manchester Art Gallery ran a second programme in November and December 2013, in partnership with Gorton Visual Arts.

The course included a fast, fun and interactive introduction to the ‘isms’ of the last century with gallery curator Kate Jesson. 'The following sessions took inspiration from the exhibitions All that is solid melts into air by Jeremy Deller and The vanity of small differences by Grayson Perry, exploring industry, class and working lives.  Through the process of exploring the artwork and discussing social history, the group decided to create ceramic tiles based on the decline of pubs in Hyde Road, Gorton.

 

'I feel comfortable in studying art and this has made me more comfortable about myself' Pat - Member of Gorton Visual Arts

'I always enjoy and appreciate Manchester Art Gallery. It has has so much to offer and is available for all. Now we have a new experience with GVA. We see, we learn. I have many happy memories. "Always a privilege" said my dad. I can not count how many people I have visited the art gallery with! Thank you and keep up the good work'. Margaret - Gorton Visual Arts

English Corner

English Corner

Free English conversation classes at Manchester Art Gallery. Every second Wednesday of the month 1-2.30 pm and at Thursday Lates on the third Thursday of each month 6.30-8 pm.  There is now an English Corner on the first Tuesday of each month at Manchester Museum between 1-2.30 p.m.  Free. no need to book, just turn up. 

Mary Greg's collection of curiosities

Mary Greg
Let us bring Manchester Art Gallery to you. We offer object handling sessions for older people's groups. Please call or email for more information.

Philosophy Cafe

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Bower Meadow.
The Philosophy Café at Manchester Art Gallery is an informal discussion group meeting on the second Tuesday of each month between 10.30-12. Please call or email for more information.