All Our Brains - Catalyst:Festival

In 2016 The Valerie Foundation and Heeley City Farm won the opportunity to be part of Sheffield Hallam University's Catalyst: Festival of Creativity. This meant that an idea that we had been talking about for more years could come to life. We started with a symposium on 21st May 2016, this symposium was open to anyone who wanted to join in with the premise that anyone who wanted to come would hopefully learn about dementia and hopefully have some ideas for works of art that they may want to make. Roughly 70 people, carers, ex-carers, artists, non-artists, medical professionals and people just wanting to find out more about dementia came to the event to listen to speakers who are in the dementia world. As part of the event we had workshops/inspiration rooms, where people could go in and look at pieces of dementia related art by others, art in general, read books/leaflet/info material and talk to people and network with others who may want to make work.

Following the symposium we held 4 bi-monthly workshops for people wanting to make work to get together and talk through ideas, listen to others, visit and spend time in the exhibition pace.

On 18th November 2016 the exhibition launched in the Foyer of Sheffield Hallam University's Cantor Building. It last for 6 weeks and was greatly received. Over 200 people visited the exhibition on the opening night and say work from 19 exhibitors showcasing 22 pieces of work. This exhibition brought together many different organisations, engaged over 1000 people and turned what is a usual an empty walk-through into an engaging space where ideas and dialog could flourish.

Since the launch in 2016 at Sheffield Hallam University 'All Our Brains' has been shown in other venues. In 2017 the exhibition had a limited viewing at the Church of The Nazarene at Heeley Green in Sheffield and following the, in Feb 2018, the exhibition had a 2 week run at The Art House in Sheffield City Centre. The exhibition at The Art House held some of the work from the first exhibition along with new works being exhibited from the first time.

Speakers of the Symposium in 2016

Rachel Allen (Alzheimer's Research Uk), Barbara Lewis (Limon Attire Ltd), Siana Glen (Occupational Therapy student), Emma Parr (Occupational Therapy student), Leon Lockley (Freelance Director of Photography/Cameraman/Editor & visiting lecturer at SHU), Andrew Pearse (The Valerie Foundation & Heeley City Farm), Lee Pearse (The Valerie Foundation & Heeley City Farm), Grace Stead (Enrichment For The Elderly & Sheffield Dementia Action Alliance), Sam Smith (Oral Historian)

Exhibitors over the 3 showings of 'All Our Brains'

Roger Baker, Mandy Bent, Mick Black, Julie Blacker, Siana Glen, Ryan Green, Diane Hinchliffe, Ibraheem Abdul Kareem, Barbara Lewis, Leon Lockley, Chris Lowe, Linda Mallinson, Richard Melland, J S May, Andrew Pearse, Lee PearseSaskia Peet, Jake Richardson, Grace Stead, Judy Stevenson, Esme Turner, Lucas Turner, Andy Vine, Neil Webb, work from 2 workshops from the Age Better 'Drink Wise Age Well' project and images from Dunhill Medical Trust and Sheffield Hallam University's research project into Thermal Imaging as a tool to support older people in care homes