Museums & Galleries Qld

Anne Keam blogs from the NGA’s Art & Alzheimer’s workshop during her mentorship at Logan Art Gallery

Posted on: 14 November 2013

During my mentorship at Logan Art Gallery I have had the opportunity to do again the two day Art and Alzheimer’s (A&A) training offered by the National Art Gallery.   Dogwood Crossing, Miles hosted training in conjunction with our local Queensland Health providers and have gone on to establish a program with the high care facility Milton House with  between three and five residence attending sessions monthly.  However I have found presenting these workshops very challenging, being much more at home presenting children’s programs.

Attending the resent training at the Logan Art Gallery has given me the chance to re-visit the key concepts on which the program is based and a few things really gelled for me.  Each A&A session is built around the verbs OBSERVE, DESCRIBE, INTERPRET and CONNECT.  On the second day we broke up into groups to do some practice tours, firstly as if we were a group not affected by dementia.  As we discussed the chosen work with each other we could see ourselves flying through the session structure in a matter of a few sentences – observing and describing then jumping straight to interpreting and connecting.  It suddenly clicked that we are doing exactly the same thing anyone would do in a guided conversation about art but with our A&A participants we just need to slow the whole process down.

Our next practice group involved being assigned roles with some playing the role of dementia patients and in this situation we are reminded very quickly of how important it is to be patient and how the discussion facilitator must be prepared to sit with the silence while participants have a chance to formulate their responses.  This has always been the biggest challenge for me.  I know I often slip back into my comfort zone of being the presenter who does most of the talking, rather than the discussion facilitator who is exploring the work through conversation along-side the participants.

Thanks to the Logan Art Gallery, Nikki Main from the National Gallery and the Logan Art Gallery volunteers and health professionals for such an excellent training opportunity.

Queensland delivery of Art and Alzheimer’s training is a partnership between the National Gallery of Australia and M&GSQ. See a recorded presentation of NGA’s Adriane Boag, ‘Art and Alzheimer’s Outreach Program case study’ from M&GSQ 2011 State Conference . http://vimeo.com/28257182

2013 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program is funded by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a joint Queensland Government and Local Government partnership to support local arts and culture.

See M&GSQ’s website, www.magsq.com.au for more information about the Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.

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Museums & Galleries Queensland

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Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

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