'Times of Our Lives' Turner Contemporary

Adult Learners' Week Transformation Fund Award
South East

A group of 17 people aged between 60 and 85 have been meeting since autumn 2009 to develop art skills and produce a vision of what ‘teenage’ means to them.

Many members of the group were keen to study art when they were younger, but it wasn’t considered practical or encouraged, so the ‘Times of Our Lives’ project has given them an outlet to express their artistic flair in later life. The group has created pieces to represent the differences between their teenage years and those of today’s teenagers, to form part of a life-sized bedroom. The group has learned new skills, including skills in technology, archiving and art, and members have each participated for different reasons. Some members of the group attended for camaraderie and to develop a passion for art, whereas one member attended to learn how to combine his existing photography skills with new media.

The group’s work was displayed in Margate in March 2010 and examples of artwork included: a broken mirror to reflect the angst of being a teenager; layering of wallpaper from different eras to show the passing of time; a talking photo album of a teenage diary; and a hybrid bed showing the stark difference between past bedding and today’s duvets. A member of the group reflected, “This project has been a really brilliant way of opening up our minds to ‘seeing’ in a very different way... working in a group enables us to mull over ideas together which lead to all sorts of creative thought.”