‘Armchair Gallery’ brings great art into Nottingham care homes

Date published: 3 Nov 2015

Posted by: Joe Pick

Print making with older person

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City Arts are using iPads to bring great art into Nottingham care homes. Professionally filmed guided tours form part of the ‘Armchair Gallery’, an iPad app, currently in development, which will allow older people in care settings to explore some of the country’s best art collections.

For the pilot project, our Imagine programme has worked with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire to give care home residents access to Chatsworth House’s collection of art and antiques. In a series of short films the Duke and Duchess give a personal tour of their home and speak about their favourite items in the collection.

Currently the short films are being used in workshops at Abbeyfield’s Millbeck and Sycamore House care homes. With the support of artist Sam Metz and dancer Andrea Haley, residents are taking inspiration from the treasures of the Chatsworth collection and creating their own artworks. The finished app will include instructions for creative activities that care home staff can run with older people.

Older person watches film

City Arts’ Kate Duncan, who is managing the project, explains the motivation behind the app’s development:

“It is a sad fact that when older people go into care they become cut off from the country’s world-class cultural institutions – health and mobility issues make visits a rare occurrence. Through this project we are exploring ways that technology can bring the arts into the care home. We are delighted that Chatsworth House have generously offered to share their incredible collection with Nottingham care home residents.”

Amelia, a Sycamore House resident, said:

“I recognised some of the artworks from my visits to Chatsworth House in the past. The Armchair Gallery has brought back great memories.”

‘Armchair Gallery’ is just one in a series of projects combining art and technology to enrich the lives of older people in Nottingham care homes as part of the Imagine: Arts and Older People programme. Others include streaming live music events into homes and ‘iPad EngAge’, which uses existing applications to encourage care home residents to express themselves creatively. The projects have been highlighted in the Baring Foundation’s new report ‘Technically Older’.