Photography lecturer, Tadgh Devlin, has been exhibiting some of his work at a Tate Exchange event this week in collaboration with the SURF dementia group. The event is the first in a series of photographic collaborations in Open Eye Gallery’s Culture Shifts Programme.
SURF has a track record as ambassadors for those living with early onset dementia, and is supported by NHS Merseycare. A number of the group have worked closely with Mr Devlin to create their individual Photo Stories. For Mr Devlin, the work forms part of a research residency with Open Eye and Merseycare looking at people living with dementia.
The exhibition is on show at Tate Exchange from 27th to 29th November and, as well as showing photographs representing the stories of people living with dementia, Mr Devlin joined a team from Open Eye Gallery offering portfolio critique sessions allowing budding photographers a chance to speak to industry professionals for advice and feedback. This was followed by ‘An Artist Panel Discussion’ – a round table discussion about the current arts and health agenda, with experts including Dr Sarah Butchard (Clinical Psychologist, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust), John Byrne (Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, LJMU) and Katherine Taylor (Research Assistant, MMU). The talk reflected on the learning and experience the Culture Shifts project has provided and what role photography played in realising a new co-authored body of artwork.
Mr Devlin’s collaboration with SURF dementia group doesn’t stop there. Together they have also produced a newspaper designed to be taken apart and used as a temporary exhibition to raise awareness and remove some of the stigma involved with dementia. The publication will be sent to doctors’ waiting rooms and student doctors and nurses across Merseyside.
Speaking after the exhibition, Mr Devlin said:
“Working on the project with Open Eye and Merseycare has been an incredible experience. Throughout the project the participants were really keen to raise awareness about different aspects of living with dementia and also to try and remove some of the stigma.”
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