Intergenerational workshop inspires all ages through art and stories
“Were you in the first World War?” Bill had hardly got his feet under the table and introduced himself before being asked this question.
Bill was one of the senior participants in an Intergenerational project for The Witham’s wonderful Summer of Stories, his questioner one of the junior ones. This exchange took place on Tuesday when seventeen enthusiastic year 4 children from Montalbo School and six residents from the Manor House Care Home got together to share their favourite stories. Facilitated by Gemma McColl, a local artist, the project aimed to bring together groups of children and adults, who may not normally meet and demonstrate that through a mutual interest conversations can flow. Reading or talking about a favourite story was a channel through which both children and adults could share experiences of their lives, find commonalities and build relationships.
The children began the day by drawing portraits of each other, making good use of the artistic guidance that Gemma had given them. When the senior participants in the project arrived the children rushed to get out their chosen books. No matter whether the stories were old favourites or modern tales, the conversations flowed as both children and adults read to each other and talked about the stories they loved.
Having learnt a little more about their sitters, the children took up their brushes to paint portraits, with many of them including elements of the stories discussed in their pictures. The adults rediscovered the joy of creating too, as they used a pencil or paintbrush for the first time in many years. The children ended the day by making frames for their finished portraits which will be proudly displayed in The Witham in August.
The buzz of conversation, the level of engagement of the children and the smiles on the faces of all the participants, both young and old, was a testament to the success of an enjoyable and productive day.
Written by Marilyn Normanton, The Witham Volunteer
Thank you to Marilyn for this blog post following her participation in the workshop at The Witham on Tuesday 4th July. Thank you to Sir James Knott Trust and the Teesdale Area Action Partnership (TAP) for supporting this project, to Gemma McColl from Suitcase Studios for realising our plan with such creativity and spark, to the dream team of volunteers, Marilyn, Marion and Emma, school staff and Manor House and Catherine Howard.