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Posted on July 3rd 2017

Girls Work with Dulwich Picture Gallery on Mini Opera

We’re really proud of two of our girls, Abi (age 12) and Josheela (age 13), who took part in the ground-breaking Visual to Vocal project at Dulwich Picture Gallery recently.

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The project brought together people living with dementia, their carers, and young people from Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich and Dulwich College.

They all worked over ten weeks, supported by English Touring Opera, to write song lyrics and compose melodies in response to visiting the Gallery’s Permanent Collection. The project culminated in a performance of an extraordinary mini-opera at the gallery on June 25.

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This intergenerational project challenged the perceptions of what people living with dementia can achieve. “This project has helped me understand and find things out about people with dementia,” said Abi. “One thing I noticed is that I couldn't really tell who had dementia and who didn't. I think music and art work so well together because there is always a story behind the art and the making of the art."

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Josheela said: “The project so far has been a really rewarding experience, and it wasn't what I was expecting in the sense that the art would play such a big part in the music. My highlight of the project so far has been having conversations with different people in the sessions, as I always learn something new about dementia from the different individuals."

Nicki Hatton, Community Programme Coordinator at Dulwich Picture Gallery said: "Abi and Josheela have been absolutely fantastic throughout. They interacted with our older participants beautifully and involved themselves on all levels with the creation and performance of the opera. The intergenerational element of this venture is key to the project and the students rose to the challenge naturally and with ease."

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Visual to Vocal is supported by City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder.

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