Community Outreach

A new project for the Barber

Art helps us connect with other people and make sense of our experiences. It can inspire and delight us and spark our curiosity.

Working in partnership with trained artist facilitators, residents and staff we will design resources and workshops that consider personal responses to specific artworks and open up conversations about our everyday experiences to unlock memories and stories. Sessions will be participant-led in a way that is appropriate for each setting and each care community will take a unique journey during our time together.

As the healthcare sector continues to feel the effects of the pandemic, whilst seeking to navigate its recovery from it, we hope this collaborative outreach project will uplift, inspire and bring value to all participants in both expected and unexpected ways.

Check this page for updates as the project develops.

Please contact Shelagh Musgrave, Barber Health Coordinator, for further information:

Project updates

Following an inspirational and uplifting six-week journey, the pilot project drew to a close on Friday 22 October 2021 with a visit to the Barber from both community settings. The afternoon brought together all participants and facilitators in one space for the first time and was a wonderful celebration of a successful pilot. Maggie’s words, ‘We want to go on and on!! What are we going to do with our Friday afternoons now?’ - summed up the feelings of the day.

Connection is something that Covid has so cruelly denied us and many have faced extreme isolation.  The care home we worked with had received no external visitors since spring 2020 until we were permitted to visit at the start of the project in September 2021. Two of the three residents who visited the Barber in October had not been outside of the home since the start of the pandemic.

June, a participant, reflected that it gave them a chance to ‘come away from the other room and be with new people’. Connection for participants became our focus for the pilot: connection with other people in their own communities, connection with the facilitators and the Barber, and connection with art - both during the sessions and with our wider collection during the gallery visit.

A visit to the galleries together

Both groups visited the Barber on Friday 22 October, taking part in a tour of the galleries led by our artist partner Jon Sleigh. Jon introduced the groups to each of the artworks from the collection that we’d chosen for the project – there were audible gasps of delight at seeing some of the works in their full glory in the gallery setting!

Many were inspired by Jon’s interpretations during the livestream session in week two, and the in-person tour echoed Bill’s feedback at the time, he reflected that ‘anyone can look at a painting, Jon’s knowledge and expertise brought the paintings to life and made us SEE’. Interestingly, participants wondered whether different decisions might have been made about which artworks to take forward at each stage of the journey had the gallery visit been at the start of the workshop series.

What’s next?

Our focus now is on evaluating the pilot through consideration of the feedback and experiences of both participants and facilitators, before taking the project into its next phase between January and March 2022.