Dulwich Picture Gallery: Visual to Vocal 2015

For several years, we have documented Dulwich Picture Gallery‘s community work, particularly the Visual to Vocal programme. This is run in partnership with English Touring Opera and works with people living with dementia and their carers to write an opera with young students from Dulwich College all inspired by the gallery’s unique collection.

This year we had the extra pleasure of visiting Eve, one of the participants, along with her family at home to hear about the benefits that working on the Visual to Vocal project has had not only for Eve, but for everyone involved. It was very generous of the family to invite us into their home so we were able to get an intimate portrait for this film.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch us all. Anything that can help support those living with and caring for people with these diseases should be encouraged and celebrated.

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.