Author: Katherine Wimpenny 27th June 2017
Katherine Wimpenny, Research Lead, Arts Gymnasium, DMLL
Over the past few weeks we have been sharing our evaluation research on the Arts Gymnasium project, a collaboration between the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry University, and Age UK Coventry, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The Arts Gymnasium project is investigating the value of arts and drama workshops for the health and wellbeing of people aged 50+ across Coventry, and particularly those least arts engaged.
In particular, we have been sharing work completed with students from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH), who were recruited in January 2017 as project assistants as part of the research team, and tasked with bringing together a documentary exhibition of the Arts Gymnasium, as part of the evaluation process.
The students, including Andrew Cardinal, Tara Rutledge, Christian Sterk, Rostislava Georgieva, Sammy Wan and Berta Sanchez-Hueso, were asked to capture the more personalised perspectives and stories of the people who were taking part in the weekly Arts Gymnasium workshops, to get in close, to reflect individuals journeying, to develop relationships such that participants could feel comfortable in front of the camera, to capture the moment to moment experiences as well as the more longitudinal impact the project might be having on people.
As a result of attending the different workshops, taking part, and getting to know participants the students have developed an exhibition of photography and three documentary films capturing the interests and life situations of participants. This exhibition of work is contributing not only to a collaborative learning process, but also a means of sharing participants view of the self. Certainly, the social connectedness and playfulness aspects from the weekly workshops have been evidenced and helped shape the focus of the students’ creative outputs which were showcased in the Albany Theatre on 10th June.
Most recently, on 22nd June we presented on our work at the University Teaching and Learning conference.
It was great to see the students photography work in the foyer and the sharing of their documentary films in the performance presentation – Great job!