An innovative 10-week arts project is offering care groups and organisations in East Belfast the opportunity to create and share two radio dramas based on their different caring experiences. Delivered by EastSide Arts and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Arts and Older People Programme, the project entitled ‘Artful Ageing’ aims to break down the stigma of isolation and loneliness and promote well being amongst older residents.
The two radio dramas will be developed through an interactive workshop delivered by east Belfast based writer and radio dramatist Jan Carson. It will include story development, writing, recording and editing of the two short dramas exploring different issues and experiences that are related to being a carer. The two dramas and a bespoke tool kit will be available to share with other care groups and organisations, with the hope that it will help to provide an opportunity to begin conversations about the positive and negative aspects of caring for another person.
EastSide Arts’ project ‘Artful Ageing’ workshops will also be run from January to June at a variety of East Belfast venues including the EastSide Visitor Centre. These free drop-in classes are for older members of the community and will feature a range of safe-space workshops including crochet, ceramics, textile art, painting and digital fabrication. Looking forward to delivering the workshops, East Belfast writer Jan Carson said that the project is a wonderful initiative by EastSide Arts and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Arts and Older People Programme that it is vital that carers within our community are given the opportunity to discuss and share their positive and negative experiences they have for caring for another person. He also states that the workshops will be a fantastic platform to capture those conversations and that he is very excited to working with the carers and seeing the outcome after those 10 weeks.
Lorraine Calderwood, Arts and Older People Programme Officer, explained how the programme is continuing to make a huge difference to peoples lives, saying that the links between creative expression through participation in the arts and improved wellbeing are now well established and that the programme has evidenced how successful the arts are in making a positive impact on older people with tackling issues such as isolation and social exclusion as they can give a much needed voice to older citizens through this.
To register and for further information about the EastSide Arts ‘Artful Aging’ Programme, visit: www.eastsidearts.net