It's not time to hide away… /
Project – I’ll Sing This Song
Client – National Theatre Wales
It’s not time to hide away from Dementia, It’s time to sing…
In a project that spanned the breadth of 2016, and travelled the length of Wales, we set out on tour to teach three choirs of people living with Dementia to sing Before I Leave, a song written for the project by Nicky Wire and James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers.
The result, the I’ll Sing This Song app, is a toolkit for individuals, community groups, choirs and schools to follow in a similar path; to undertake their own journey of understanding and share their experiences. To live mindfully in the moment, to embrace their reality and really engage with the subject of Dementia. It is a resource not only to help those living with the condition, but for a population in desperate need of a greater understanding of mental health.
Including a short film, the app documents the experiences of the choirs throughout the process and in doing so champions the healing power of song, reassuring that those with Dementia can and do take an active role in life. Highlighting the healing power of creative expression and the vital role the Arts have to play in maintaining our mental health and wellbeing.
Informed by its intended audience, the design is clean, clear and concise, making the most of the accessible and tactile nature of the iPad. Users are encouraged to interact with the material already created and participate themselves by uploading videos and images of their own sessions, performances and memories, making further connections and building even stronger links together.
As featured in Design Week's Be Inspired selection…
I'll Sing This Song is now available to download from the Apple App Store…
Q. So, what do you do? /
The response 'design' has always seemed rather unsatisfactory, and being so often faced with this question left me thinking… What exactly do I do? And why do I do whatever it is that I do? I think I might have finally found an appreciable answer. Whilst there are many things I love about design, the pursuit and the process, the craft and its precision. I've come to realise that, for me, the root of it is… I like to make things for people and causes I care about.
A career in design has been my enabler in this. A form of self-medication that allows me to use what I can do to help others do what they do. As Frank Chimero puts it, by perceiving design through 'the lens of a gift'…
'I think about the work that I do as a designer; it's my job to make things for other people. I get hired by somebody to make something, and then that gets given to someone else… and if I do my job, and people love that, they share it with someone else… so how can I think about my job as anything other than giving a gift? Essentially, the best work that I do is when I say something I really believe to people that I care about. Those are the times when the work is the best, and the times that it's not like that, I feel awful inside, because I'm not making mix-tapes for people.'
'A cassette tape itself is not meaningful, but it's the structure and the thoughtfulness around that mix-tape, and the sacrifice that an individual has to make to do it that makes it valuable.'
Only someone who knows you, understands you, sees your vision and appreciates its context, can make you a mix-tape that you'll love completely. This is the same challenge that faces a designer. Requiring the same empathy, insight and consideration to fulfil the task successfully.
Designers are curators, selecting and specifying; creating their client's exhibition. They are collectors, collaborators and communicators. Editors, evaluators and interpreters. The finished piece is only partly reflective of the designer themselves; it is their response to the brief, their answer to the problem posed and there's a professional responsibility to the recipient. That's it in a nutshell for me; an exercise of perception, intuition and dedication, with self expression as an accent. So make sure you love what you do and who you do it for.
Lots of latest updates over on the Instagram feed… @bwtic