Comlink Australia and UniSC Photo Walks project springs to life

Picture project in action.

Researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast have partnered with Comlink Australia to deliver the next phase of their Creativity and Movement Project the “Photo Walks” project. Led by photographic scholar Dr Tricia King, exercise physiologist Dr Dan Wadsworth and Design discipline lead Dr Leah Barclay, this interdisciplinary project explores new methods of enhancing the wellbeing and health of older people through art, friendship, and exercise. The project aims to demonstrate the value of creativity in increasing social connectivity, incidental exercise, and reduced isolation in ageing communities.

This next series of photo walks follows a very successful pilot of the work with a local aged care facility. The 8-week project saw participants working with the researchers to explore the gardens of the residential aged care facility. The residents use the time each week to explore different ways of seeing their home, looking for patterns, colours and textures which they photographed using compact cameras. The photographic walks were a meaningful activity for the residents, who enjoyed looking at prints of their photographs each week and used them to decorate all the doors of other residents.

Joyce (94) said that she loved creating photographs because now, “instead of just sitting here and moping I think ‘oh I could take a photograph of that’ and I look forward to the next session”. She said it’s given her a new lease on life.

Similarly, Kathleen (88) said that photography has given her a whole new way of looking at life. Indeed, she’s asked her family to buy her a camera for Mother’s Day as she wants to continue her photography escapades now that the initial pilot has come to an end.

The project concluded with an on-site exhibition of the work where the residents proudly showcased their photographs.

The UniSC research team are excited to be working with Comlink Australia to execute the next phase of the project. The next phase will see people who are ageing in community coming together each week at the Vitality Village facility to do photo walks around the local environment. Dr King is anticipating the project will be equally as valuable to this new group of people. “It’s very exciting to be working with Comlink Australia on this next phase of the project and seeing how we can use the creative arts to bring together people who are living in their homes by sharing these moments of seeing and connecting with photography”.

The project began in late May with a public exhibition of the photographs to be held in September.

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