Student brings together children and elderly in art project to bridge generational gap

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

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An Oxford Brookes University student has set up a series of arts and crafts workshops for local school children and care home residents in efforts to bring the different generations together.

An Oxford Brookes University student has set up a series of arts and crafts workshops for local school children and care home residents in efforts to bring the different generations together.

Jonida Murataj, who is studying a research degree in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, is running the workshops at Tyndale Community School, for children from the school and residents of St. John’s Home.

As a researcher, this project has given me more experience in funded project applications and has helped me to develop several transferable skills such as project management, organisations and decision-making skills, budget handling and team leading skills.

Jonida Murataj, research student in Architecture, Oxford Brookes University

The aim of the project aims to bring children and elderly people together and improve relationships between generations as Jonida explains: “Being an architect and a researcher, has helped me realise that it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to propose changes and improvements in the community life, as there are weak ties within the community, including between children and the elderly. There is this huge age difference between children and retired people and often a huge gap in the way they think, act and feel. This is why I began thinking of new ways of bringing both generations together in a series of workshops that aim to increase the engagement and involvement between them, as well as increasing their enthusiasm and imaginations.

“During the workshops, the care home residents have an opportunity to gain some social interaction and the children learn practical skills and develop a sense of understanding and appreciation of older people and the contribution they have made and still make to their families and community.”

The first workshop used second-hand paints and materials to create a collage canvas. Two classes of 30 children and seven members of St Johns Home participated. Two more workshops are planned in June and July.

Jonida received funding for the project through Oxford Brookes University’s Student Impact Fund. The Student Impact Fund gives financial support to student-led, extra-curricular projects which have a positive impact on members of the local community and/or fellow students. The Student Impact Fund is funded by donations from Oxford Brookes alumni.

Jonida added: “As a researcher, this project has given me more experience in funded project applications and has helped me to develop several transferable skills such as project management, organisations and decision-making skills, budget handling and team leading skills. Above everything else, I have realised that projects like this are required to improve our community and, in this case to bring some joy in retired people’s life.”