Intergenerational projects are a cornerstone of community development. Through sharing information and experiences young people can engage a different perspective and experience situations that they might not usually be exposed to. It is in transforming the perceptions of our young people that we can initiate culture change.
We worked with a local youth project to approach four local schools, targeting ‘A’ level Art students. Three declined stating that it was inappropriate for their young people to come into the hospice, the remaining school circulated information to students and five young people came forward. Students came into the hospice (extra curricula), talked to day guests about memories, and planned a series of art installations in the hospice grounds to support our Dying Matters week collaborations. Some of the conversations challenged the young people, but the situation was managed by the team, without specialist support services. The aim for students was to understand life, death, grief and loss, gaining an understanding that death is part of life and should be embraced.
The art was robust and weatherproofed, objects suspended in the trees and walkways for an afternoon picnic. Our day guests were excited to share their memories, and the final exhibition proved emotional as the artwork resonated with many of the visitors. Exhibits included small pictures in glass jars, a globe, and a film in the following areas:
Family ribbon tree
The timing of the event was difficult for the young people as it led into exam time – students found this difficult. Overall it was a successful event, students commented on the wisdom of older people and how life has changed, but most of all we now have a solid foundation with the school to build future relationships and learning.
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