A series of Armchair Gallery workshops have taken place at Nottinghamshire Hospice, Millbeck and Sycamore Houses facilitated by dance artist Andrea Haley and visual artist Jo Dacombe (2016). Artworks explored from Dulwich include paintings by Rembrandt, Girl at the Window, Hagar in the Desert by Rubens, Canaletto’s Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day and Reni’s painting of St Sebastian.
Each of the artworks was approached very differently by both artists and are introduced using the storytelling technique of Timeslips. All aspects of the workshops are planned to include sensory and tactile opportunities for people with different needs to engage with the Armchair Gallery sessions.
Andrea Haley increasingly uses poetry, music and singing, movement and tactile methods and similarly Jo’s approach utilises experimentation with different arts techniques, poetry/word and visual arts in an accessible and achievable way.
“A special moment when one lady spontaneously decided to read aloud the poem I had brought in, the whole room went quiet as everybody listened to her reading and then they all complimented her on how well she read. She asked me if she could keep the poem.”
“I wanted to look at how coloured light changes a mood (we were looking at the Dulwich Mausoleum with the amber coloured windows) so I used sheets of coloured cellophane in front of the projector to change the colour of the pictures, which got some interest and worked well. Later we drew portraits on acetate and I could “project” these onto the big screen by holding them up in front of the projector lamp, so we could all see each other’s work really well for the end sharing. The volunteer commented it was interesting to think of the projector as a tool in this way.
The Activity Co-ordinator was inspired by the activity and liked the portrait drawings; she said she would work on them more with the group and hope to include them in an exhibition.”
“I like the combination of looking, describing with words, then handling and listening or reading poetry, then making, and try to do a combination of all these in each session to stimulate as many senses as possible.”