Art Adventures in Nature

Art Adventures in Nature celebrates the natural world, encouraging care home residents to explore and be creative outdoors.

This three-year project (2017 – 2020 and extended due to Covid-19) is led by Luminate artists-in-residence Gill White and James Winnett, working with Erskine, which provides care for veterans and their spouses. The project is part of Unforgotten Forces, a partnership of 16 charities supporting older veterans across Scotland.

This is one of the most inspiring arts projects with people living with dementia that I have ever experienced

Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of the Divisions of Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies Queen Margaret University

Between 2017 and 2020 Gill and James spent two days a week with residents, creating a bespoke approach that was designed to reflect the adventurous spirit of residents.

Making use of the wealth of green space in the Erskine homes’ grounds, creative activities took inspiration from the natural world and included sculpture, photography, ceramics, filmmaking, stone carving, poetry, printmaking, woodwork, sound recording and painting.

We collaborated with Erskine staff to buy and install a large, warm, dry shed for each care home.  These were adapted to become outdoor art studios, which gave us a creative space that was embedded in the natural world and felt quite different from the indoor environment of each care home

The extended length of the residency provided a unique opportunity for Gill and James to develop a host of creative approaches and gain valuable insights, particularly around working with people living with dementia.

Their tailored approach is personalised to each individual’s interests, abilities and needs, leading to creative adventures where as much value is placed on the process as the outcome.

The project was paused in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak but Gill and James returned to Erskine in the autumn of 2021. The project will culminate in the launch of a permanent sculpture trail in the woods next to the Erskine Bishopton Home in summer 2022.

Please note that the two films above were made without sound.