Dulwich Picture Gallery: Visual to Vocal

We recently captured a wonderful performance at Dulwich Picture Gallery that was the culmination of eight weeks work by the twenty strong group of singers and composers.

This interesting group of singers and songwriters were brought together through a collaboration by Dulwich Picture Gallery and English Touring Opera. Inspired by an ETO programme called Turtle Song, the Gallery brought together a group of dementia patients and their carers for a second year. The group were joined by a number of professional musicians and some students from Dulwich College. Together the whole group wrote lyrics and songs inspired by the stunning collection at the Gallery. Watch our video documenting the process to find out more:

This was a particularly moving performance for me as my grandfather suffers from alzheimers and there was a lovely couple involved who reminded me of my grandparents, only, in their case, it is the woman who has dementia. It was so inspiring to watch all of the group sing together and know that dementia was not part of the performance or the process; something to accommodate and understand but never the focus. The focus was on creativity and making something as a group in the present. The final pieces were wonderful and I am still singing some of the songs weeks after the final performance.

Horniman Museum and Gardens: Amulets

A little while back the Horniman invited us to cover an event they were hosting exploring amulets and amuletic practice. I wasn’t sure what an amulet is so it was fascinating to see and explore the amulets from the Horniman collection that ranged from a First World War intricate heart shaped tin keepsake to a necklace made of human teeth.

Speakers at the event included representatives from the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall as well as anthropologists from UCL and international artists.

As a non-specialist observer it was interesting to hear those involved debating what it is that makes something an amulet, which was one of the key questions that we wanted to answer when we were first asked to cover this event. For some it seemed it can be anything that we might use as a lucky item. Although I am not immune to superstition I realised that I don’t have any amulets myself but I do wonder how many people do hold special or lucky items with them, particularly for special occasions.