In My Day
It culminated in a performance event at Platform in Easterhouse in March 2008. The Arts Development Team of Culture and Sport Glasgow (now Glasgow Life) worked with Dance House, the Glasgow based dance agency and choreographer Natasha Gilmore. Natasha had worked before with Germiston Community Association and Balornock Primary School in North Glasgow areas. Most participants had previous dance experience but working across generations in a performance project was new.
The project was one of many supported through Glasgow’s Cultural Pathfinder for Older People It began in 2007 and was funded by the Scottish Executive. It followed on from the success of the Encourage programme, which opened up the arts for people over 50 in Glasgow, and identified the need for more targeted and tailored work for disadvantaged people over 60.
Initially the groups (24 children and 6 older people) worked separately in their own venues. Then they came together for three rehearsals prior to the show with the performance about challenging stereotypes around age. A good bond was formed with the excitement at the first meeting tangible. The children ran out to meet the older adults as they arrived at the school in their minibus.
- working with an experienced and well-matched choreographer
- commitment and support from the school and the community association
- shortcut to engagement with the older participants made possible through their trust in the association staff
- an existing good relationship with key people in both organisations
- a single person in each organisation with responsibility for recruiting participants and keeping them in the information loop
- provision of transport to and from rehearsals and performance
- supportive staff at the performance venue
The project could have benefited from a longer timescale and the performance could have been enhanced by an introduction to set it in context.
In a survey of the children’s reaction to the project, the vast majority found working intergenerationally a lot of fun and would like to do it again. A small proportion were less enthusiastic. This may have been a reaction to the particular dance activity itself rather than feeling uncomfortable performing in a mixed age group per se.