In January 2023 Castlefield Gallery, in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, developed The Ageing in Place Micro-Residency project. Inspired by GMCA’s Ageing in Place initiative, the project consisted of seven artists being placed in eight boroughs of Greater Manchester to create workshops with older local residents that sought to explore the questions, “What’s it like to live here?” and “How can we make it better?”.
The project was open to artists who had previously been members of the Castlefield Gallery bOlder development programme, aimed at artists over the age of 50, in addition to any other artists that the gallery had previously worked with who also fell into that category.
We had seven amazing artists take part in the project – Christopher Rainham, Claire Hignett, Julia Griffin, Ian Vines, Mei Yuk Wong, Marguerite Heywood and Sam Owen Hull. Each artist was paired with a Pathfinder Partner in their respective boroughs and got to work on creating collaborative, inspiring and engaging workshops with the older local residents.
The residencies had no required end goal, rather they aimed to get the older residents to share their lived experiences of ageing in their local community, through creative and accessible means. The workshops ranged from poetry writing to origami, painting, drawing and clay sculpting – and some resulted in beautiful, permanent works of art made in collaboration with the residents themselves.