Let’s be heard

Alessandra Merizzi has written this blog about the latest exhibition in our Community Gallery. The exhibition runs from 17 July until 4 September.

Let’s Be Heard is a group of people living with dementia that meets in Oldham to share friendly and informal discussions about their day-to-day experience of very common matters e.g. shopping, transport or health services. The group looks at problems and seeks to find ways of living with dementia (peer support) and helping people to understand what it is like and adjust misguided views (community campaigning).

“For most of us meeting and talking is a real life-line.”

In 2018, Let’s Be Heard, which is part of the DEEP (Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project) Network, awarded a grant to realise an art project in collaboration with the art students of Lifelong Learning Centre in Shaw.

“We have worked with artists to prepare a show of our combined efforts to express visual insights into the impact of dementia.”

The aim of the art project mirrors the aim of the group: to inform and sensitise people in the community about the experience of living with dementia, because:

“We are still human beings. I have dementia, but I can speak for myself – I’m still me!” R.

“As with any disability the diagnosis pulls the rug from under you. To see evidence that your brain is dissolving, erodes your confidence and identity as well as cognitive capacity – but it helps more than I can say if you treat me as if I’m still me!”

The art project included meetings with the art students, a coffee morning to launch the project, parallel art sessions for the production of art works (by the Let’s Be Heard members and by the art students). Thus, the experience and phenomenology of living with dementia has been translated into various and unique artworks.

The Let’s Be Heard group presents the Let’s Be Heard exhibition: use your eyes and listen with your heart.

Let’s Be Heard is supported by the Oldham Memory Service, Springboard Oldham and the DEEP Network.