University students run bespoke workshops at mima
Students from Teesside University have been running bespoke art courses and workshops at mima with people from the local community with dementia and special needs.
mima has been working with Teesside University over the last two years to host placements for their final year MSc Occupational Therapy students. Placements aim to identify how occupational therapy can play a role in a non-traditional setting like mima.
Occupational therapy is a profession concerned with health and well-being through engagement in occupation. As a direct result of the first placements in academic year 2011/12, students Kerry Farley and Beth Timney identified the need for bespoke resources and workshops for children and adults with special needs.
Working with mima friends, a registered charity that supports the development and promotion of mima, mima’s education department developed a bid through the charity People’s Postcode Trust which awards funding to good causes that support a better world for people and the planet. A grant of £2,200 was awarded to mima friends to enable the purchase of these resources for mima.
Following consultation, research, training and visits to day centres and special needs schools, a range of resources for a bespoke self-led tool kit were developed. In addition to this the team developed creative course Art Beat, piloted over six-weeks at mima with adults from The Orchard Day Centre in Middlesbrough. The course provided a specialist programme of sensory involvement with art creating a body of work which was exhibited at mima in late June and currently on display at Clairville Stadium in Middlesbrough.
During mima’s second set of placements in academic year 2012/13, students Caroline Fowler from Middlesbrough and Bridget Byron from Hull identified an opportunity to engage people with dementia and their carers at mima through a free three-week taster course in art.
'We chose this client group because dementia affects the lives of many people and from research we’d done, we became aware that art can provide benefits for people with dementia and their carers,' said Caroline.
Bridget said: 'Our aims were to promote social inclusion, meaningful activity and confidence to visit the gallery more regularly once the sessions had finished.'
The students contacted two local organisations - Sanctuary Carr Gomm and the Young Onset Dementia Team in Middlesbrough - and through them, the taster sessions were promoted to some of their service users, who were very keen to be involved.
The group was named mima memories and the planned sessions took place over three weeks with a different theme every week. As part of the sessions the group explored different exhibitions at mima with the opportunity for members to participate in different activities including collage, screen-printing and pottery.
Music, objects, food and photographs were used to stimulate and encourage conversations of reminiscence between members of the group.
Caroline added: 'We believe the sessions were very successful in encouraging reminiscence and gave members a chance to socialise and take part in an activity they might not usually get a chance to do.'
Sandra Cleminson, Practice Tutor/Senior Lecturer at Teesside University, who organised the placements, said: 'Occupational therapists help people take part in activities which improve their health and well-being. The placement at mima has offered Teesside University students the opportunity to work with individuals with a variety of needs by including them in group activities whilst enjoying the resources at mima.
'The most recent occupational therapy student involvement used art activities for people with dementia and their care givers.
'The positive environment of mima with the careful direction of the students has meant that the people involved gained a sense of fulfilment and reduced isolation. This has increased the potential of using mima for similar groups.'
mima’s Education and Audience Development manager Marie Neeson said: 'These placements have generated fantastic opportunities for new audiences to take part in bespoke activities at mima. It’s great to be working in partnership with the university and extend our audience reach in this way, and we hope there will be many more opportunities like this in the future.'
25 July 2012