Islesolation gallery

Through the lens

The photographs shown here were taken by Newport Residential Care Home residents and staff who took part in our recent InTouch2 Digital Connectivity pilot project. 

Participants learned about editing photographs through bespoke graphic and video tutorials created by Independent Arts Practitioner Trudie Wilson with the support of their Digital Champion from within the home Darren Dollery. Residents and staff took part in our photography challenge looking more in depth at colour, texture, shadows, detail in everyday objects and settings and created this striking selection of images.

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.

– Dorothea Lange

More about the InTouch 2 project: During the pandemic we were conscious of the degree to which care homes and their residents were some of the most isolated in our community due to lockdown restrictions. As a charity working in this field we wanted to consider ways in which residents could be helped to keep in touch with friends and family but also to have access to digital technology as a creative resource and outlet. We set up a pilot project for residents in care homes to have access to loaned iPads and some support to use them in the form of video clips pre-loaded to the iPads together with some very simple written/ pictorial instructions created by Independent Arts Practitioners Trudie Wilson and Mark Lloyd. 

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

— Elliott Erwitt

Feedback from some of the participating homes:

Pre-Project “The friends and family that used to come used to interact with all the residents and were like one big family… The friends and loved ones were very much part of the home which was so very social and they are no longer able to come. Coming up to Christmas this project would be awesome! We need this.”

“Life pre Covid was very busy with visitors, these included friends, relatives, and medical visitors… All this stopped when the pandemic arrived and the only visitors we have had into the home since March 2020 are nursing teams. When the offer of the project arose, I hoped it might offer a means of entertainment for residents stuck in their rooms and possibly some communication with families. Relatives found lockdown really hard and because we have several residents with dementia it was awful, they were really bewildered and confused and couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see their families… Technology is playing a far greater role in life at the home post Covid and post project. The instructions were fantastic, brilliant, so helpful, so simple, not patronizing, loved that they were laminated.”

As restrictions precluded us from going in to the homes to run workshops to support residents to use the iPads, help from home staff was needed and participating homes put forward members of staff as Digital Champions. Independent Arts Project Lead Nicola Ward said “With the help of the fabulous Home’s Support Staff who volunteered for the role, the residents who agreed to take part really rose to the challenge. Some residents had never used IT equipment before but took the plunge using the iPads to contact loved ones, access music, recipes and general interest videos over the internet and had fun with preloaded games, creative apps and learning to use the in built camera and photo editing software. Resident’s found the energy and enthusiasm to embrace new ideas and technology over a difficult period and and have shown great perseverance and tenacity for learning. The journey continues as some residents now have their own devices sourced for them by friends, family and Homes and we also hope to bring a form of this project to other participants soon!

We’d like to send a heartfelt thank you to all of the homes that took part, Newport Residential, Seven Gables and Tile House.”