Primary 6 pupils from Kinnoull Primary School met up with residents of Kincarrathie House Residential Care Home in Perth Concert Hall to view the results of Are Ye Dancin’? an exhibition they created together.

The exhibition formed part of an innovative intergenerational project, delivered by Oak Note SCIO and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, which saw young people and the seniors in their communities collecting, preserving and celebrating memories of the Scottish Dance Hall Scene.

In 2018, Are Ye Dancin’? successfully brought 93 primary school pupils from three regions (Edinburgh, West Dunbartonshire, and Perth and Kinross) together with senior citizens in their area – forging new relationships between the generations.  Using the Scottish dancehall scene of the 1940’s and 50’s as a conversation starter, the young people interviewed their senior counterparts and then used the memories as stimuli to create original radio plays, and illustrations and artworks of the seniors’ memories of the time.  Both generations learnt new skills and shared dance moves including the jive, foxtrot and the floss!  When asked what his favourite part of the project was, Ruraidh, a junior partner commented: “...meeting the senior partners and just chatting to them about the dance halls. I just found it very interesting...”

Senior partners also found a real benefit to the intergenerational project saying, “I really enjoyed it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.  We always looked forward to the next session”. John, a senior partner, said, “I’ve been refreshed by seeing people from, almost from another world”.   

Natalie Toyne, Executive Director of Oak Note SCIO, added that, for the first time through such a project, primary age children were taught in workshops led by Alzheimer Scotland how to care for those with dementia. The learning relationship which developed surprised both parties:  The children were surprised at how much they learnt from the senior partners and vice versa.  “It’s just really really fun being with them.  They told me lots of things I didn’t know before.” (Mhairi, junior partner). 

First-hand oral histories from the senior partners, original radio plays conceived, written and performed by the junior partners, photographs and drawings featured in the exhibition can also be accessed through the Oak Note SCIO website www.oaknote.co.uk.

Are Ye Dancin’? continues Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold artspace until 14 March.

Thursday 17 January 2019