Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Enhancing Work with Older Adults using Applied Arts

LEVEL 00 - Mod Pre-Tert, Foundation, Proficiency & DegreePlus


DEPARTMENT Arts, Open Communities and Adult Education

DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces students to using one form of applied arts (visual arts, drama or music) in their daily work practise with older adults, thus contributing to their lifelong learning and their continuous professional development; as well as to the lifelong learning and active ageing of the older adults serviced by the students in their roles as employees of day centres and residential homes.

Students registered for this study-unit will be able to choose (on a first-come-first-served basis) to follow the study-unit dedicated to how applied arts may enhance their practise with older adults by taking up one of the following elective components:

1. Visual Arts, which will aim at producing various liberal and possibly, intercultural and intergenerational practise-based activities that fabricate, if not reminisce, a purposeful and significant life. In practise, the focus will be on (a) engaging carers working with the elderly to represent their collective identities, histories and aspirations in multiple forms of visual expressions; and (b) providing the necessary pedagogical and creative thinking skills to elicit prior knowledge as a source for inspiration and motivation.

2. Drama, which will introduce participants to the basics of drama, creativity and play through practical sessions. The sessions include participant play, movement, voice, storytelling, dramatisation activities which can be applied in homes for the elderly with the residents. Such activities are aimed at fostering creativity and expressivity (both verbal and non), provide opportunities for movement, encourage spontaneity, build group cohesion and ultimately enhance the potential for communication between residents and with the carers themselves. As one of the pioneers of drama, Peter Slade, had said about Drama: “It is the great activity.... it is eternally bound up with mental health. It is the Art of Living”. (1954, p. 25).
Slade, P. (1954) Child Drama, University of London.

3. Music, which will involve musical hands-on activities, aimed primarily at enjoyment, to address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of the individual. Research shows that musical activities can increase an elderly’s mobility and co-ordination, reducing tension and pain. The four attainment targets of singing, movement, listening and performing will be clearly articulated in this component as tools to improve speech, motor-skills, memory and balance. The singing component will embrace choral and solo singing. Repertoire will be tailored specifically for the age-cohorts concerned. The listening section will feature such pursuits such as matching songs with movies, musical instruments quiz, match the song with the artist, Listening to...( a basic enrichment course featuring the most popular masterpieces in classical music). Additionally, the movement component will integrate drum circle activities with rhythm, reaction training, structured and free movement. Finally, the performance section will focus in wind / recorder / guitar and percussion ensemble. Participants of this component will be trained how to conduct such groups.

In this manner, the student cohort will be subdivided in smaller groups (c.10-15 students / group). This will enhance the learner-centredness of the unit because (i) students will be given an opportunity to manifest preference of the art form they would like to engage with; and (ii) in smaller groups, students will gain more attention from the lecturer and have more time to discuss, air views, concerns etc.

Study-unit Aims:

1. Introduce students to skills, materials, styles and techniques in the field of applied arts that may be educationally and ethically used with older adults in residential homes and day care centres; and
2. Foster continuous professional development, lifelong learning and active ageing through engagement with applied arts.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Restate basic pedagogical principles relevant to engaging older adults in lifelong learning using applied arts;
2. List materials, styles or and techniques required when designing a specific applied arts activity (visual arts or drama or music) targeted at older adults based in homes and day care centres;
3. Describe the steps of an applied arts activity in a way that is understandable by older adults based in homes and day care centres; and
4. List the strengths, weaknesses of and ways of improving a specific applied arts activity targeted at older adults based in homes and day care centres.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Design a session plan of an applied arts (visual arts or drama or music) activity targeted at older adults based in homes and day care centres;
2. Apply basic pedagogical principles for older adults in an applied arts session;
3. Identify opportunities during a given applied arts session where students may apply prior knowledge as a source of inspiration and motivation; and
4. Review a given applied arts activity targeted at older adults based in homes and day care centres in terms of strengths, weaknesses and possible improvements.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main readings

- Bishop, C. (2012). Artificial hells: participatory art and the politics of spectatorship. London: Verso Books.
- Hamons, M. F. (2013 or any edition). Musically Engaged Seniors: 40 Session Plans and Resources for a Vibrant Music Therapy Program. Whelk & Waters Publishing.
- Schweitzer, P. & Bruce, E. (2008). Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today: Reminiscence in Dementia Care – A Guide to Good Practice. 2008, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Supplementary readings

- Barndt, D. (n.d.). Touching Minds and Hearts: Community Arts as Collaborative Research. Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples, and Issues, 352–363. doi: 10.4135/9781452226545.n29

ADDITIONAL NOTES This study-unit is assessed on a Pass/Fail basis.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Project

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Oral and Written Exercises No 100%

LECTURER/S Moira Azzopardi Barbieri
Moira Borg Bonaci
Isabelle Gatt
Charlotte Anne Stafrace

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.