Creating Memories

An innovative intergenerational art project — Home Nursing Group & NERAM

Innovative Art Project Brings Generations Together

Home Nursing Group, with the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) and Armidale High School, facilitated the Creating Memories project – an intergenerational project that gave younger and older audiences the opportunity to share experiences, using NERAM’s art collection as the starting point for discussions.

As Creating Memories was developed over 2013-14, the programme began attracting widespread support and community participation, and NERAM’s rich collections became the catalyst for the audience, young and old, to make memories together. The aim of NERAM and the Home Nursing Group through Creating Memories was ultimately to combat social isolation among the elderly members of the Armidale community. As they viewed the gallery’s diverse exhibition, dialogue between the students of Armidale High School and the elderly residents of our town’s community was shared.

Part of the intention of developing Creating Memories was to reinvigorate the lines of communication between the generations. Much like music or scent, art is a catalyst for getting an insight into someone’s past as well as a wonderfully effective memory trigger.

Creating Memories allowed this concept to take life as the students captured the residents reminiscing and telling stories from their full lives. Memories were captured on film, photography and in mixed media artworks benefiting the students, as well as supporting the transmission of stories from one generation to the next. Through creating these collective memories, as well as oral and visual histories, a permanent record of memory for participants, their families and the wider community was secured.

The Creating Memories project was also part of the HNG’s efforts to understand and address concerns about community breakdown and loss of collective memory. An improvement that the Home Nursing Group achieved was of the communication and social skills obtained by Armidale’s ageing residents who suffer from memory loss. The ability to share stories and create memories allowed the residents to regain further quality in their lives; an outcome that reflects the philosophy held by HNG, who believe ultimately in the sustainability of an outgoing, valuable life.

What was discovered through HNG and NERAM’s programme was that memories shared across generations are the glue that binds not just families, but communities together. All who were involved in Creating Memories came out with no shortage of inspiration, and appreciated the power of memory, and its influential link to art.

The Home Nursing Group provides home and community care for the elderly in the New England and Mid North Coast. HNG believes that innovation in services, enabling clients to express themselves creatively and promoting connections between young and old to be essential components of quality care; this programme was seen as a perfect opportunity to bring people together in a focussed, mutually beneficial arts activity.