Couple of weeks ago, we were asked to choose one of two projects:
-a mural in a care home for residents suffering from dementia;
-a set of tools or a tool for children to inform them about Parkinson’s Disease.
We could choose either and choose whether we want to work individually or in pairs.
I have decided to join my friend S., who has a similar style of work and way of working, to me. We have chosen the Parkinson’s Disease and the creation of a tool for children.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain. This leads to a reduction in a chemical, called dopamine, in the brain.
Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.
Who is affected by PD?
It is estimated that around 1 in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, there are an estimated 127,000 people in the UK with the condition.
Most people with Parkinson’s develop symptoms when they’re over 50, although around 1 in 20 people with the condition first experience symptoms when they’re under 40.
Men are also slightly more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women.
How to treat PD?
There’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, however some treatments are available to help reduce the main symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.
These treatments include:
- brain surgery
You may not need any treatment during the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, as symptoms are usually mild. However, you may need regular appointments with your specialist so your condition can be monitored.
To start the project we were visited by two representants of the Parkinson’s Equip foundation, Ray Wegrzyn, a founder of Parkinson’s Equip, who actually suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and Ghislaine Howards, a patron of the foundation who is the patron of Parkinson’s Equip, her mother suffered from PD.
After a talk and interview with Ray and Ghislaine, S. and I have had a brain storm on what we could do with all the information that we had. We chose to produce a short story book based on the life of Ray and inspired by the style of work of Olivier Kugler, after I showed S. his art, as I have attended his talk on reportage art at the Manchester Metropolitan University few days before this meeting.
Here are some examples of Kugler’s work:
Our initial ideas were formed around practical style of tools, however we both had the image of a book in our minds, as one of the main ”products”.
The several ideas included:
-toys (puzzle; felt pieces; games).
Our initial ideas included certain considerations we had to take on, as we created the process and bounced ideas off of each other.
We had to remember and consider the age of the children for which the book would be made, as well as what kind of information we could actually pass on to them without causing any distress and upset to them.
Another point was to ensure that Ray is comfortable with what were are doing and saying in regards to his story, so we had to check if what we say is what Ray agreed to disclose.
It was hard to come closer to what we wanted, because we had to ensure that Ray had privacy and the right to stop us from writing about his story.
Off we went, to venture for some more ideas and to finally limit them to just one in order for it to be more detailed and effective.
Due to limited time schedule before a planned Berlin residential trip with the university, that I have signed up to and S.didn’t, we had to come around and divided roles between each other.
A week before my flight to Berlin, S. and I met in the studio to discuss some work we did. We both have written poem about Parkinson’s Disease and Ray, but because my was more broad in the area of PD and S.’s poem was focused on Ray, we chose to use both. S.’s poem was used as the story line of the whole book, while my poem was placed at the end of the book as an extra.
(I will add both poems when I will get around to writing them up on the laptop. 😛 )
Our book was limited by the number of pages, as we didn’t want to make it too short or too long, since the children that it was created for are of Year 6.
The next point we have discussed was how to lay out the illustrations and the text. We were looking into the separate spreading of text and image as well as the combination of it on one page.
Here are some examples of our images:
I will include spread of the actual book in two weeks after it is finalized and after it has been viewed by the kids.
Also, here is something that the Parkinson’s Equip has organised this year.
Parkinson’s EQUIP is holding its second art auction, running over the next few weeks until early December.
The auction reflects the connection between Parkinson’s and creativity and between Parkinson’s and dance in particular. The auction itself, selling pictures to raise funds to help people with Parkinson’s help themselves is underlined by the new connection Parkinson’s EQUIP has made with the Dance for Parkinson’s network. This is a group of dance teachers spread across England and Wales who undertake a specific programme of training to enable them to provide the best possible direction to people with Parkinson’s. Feedback from those who have attended both the teaching instruction at the People Dance summer school in Leicestershire and have also satisfactorily completed an online assessment, and from people with Parkinson’s who have attended groups run by teachers who have been through the program are invariably positive not only in terms of the group activity itself but lasting beyond that and helping lift spirits and improve movement to some degree.
The auction runs online. At this time (17th of October 2016) we are inviting semi professional and – artists to create and donate one or two postcard size pictures using whatever medium they choose. We have asked that the pictures reflect either dance or Parkinson’s (or of course both). The pictures will be available to be viewed on our website in early November. Then at the end of November or into early December we will run an online auction via eBay lasting a week or 10 days. Full guidance about how to get to the auction and how to proceed for those unfamiliar with eBay will be provided on the website.
We hope to receive between 30 and 50 postcard size pictures. There will be a minimum starting bid for each picture of £10 and where the artist kind enough to donate has a national reputation there may be a higher start point to help maintain the integrity of their overall body of work.