(May 8th 2019) A unique Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) and Community Arts project supported by the Meath Foundation has resulted in a unique CD. “Same as it ever was?” showcases the music and poetry resulting from a scheme inspired by Reminiscence Therapy that was run in schools in Tallaght and Cashel in conjunction with the TUH.
The ‘Same as it ever was?’ was a project conceived originally from an observation by Professor Rónán Collins at the kitchen table that reminiscences with YouTube was an enjoyable, educational two-way communication between children and their grandparents, leading initially to the REMPAD reminiscence project between the Hospital and DCU.
It became obvious in this digital ‘ear-bud’ era, where the ‘family stereo’ is no more, that neither generation might actually hear or know much about the other’s music, missing an important opportunity for intergenerational cultural education and communication through the love of music. But was this actually true? Ian Wilson the music composer and Collins invited two secondary schools, urban and rural to partake, with students and their grandparents independently sharing their musical favourites and the reasons why .They postulated the generations might like different genres and styles, but the reasons particular pieces were important would probably be the same. Hence ‘same as it ever was’ a nod to the Talking Heads song of Collins and Wilson’s own generation they would have shared with their own children.
‘Same as it ever was?’ was designed to find out the reasons why people have favourite songs – songs that have real, strong meaning for the participants – and to use the exploration of those commonalities as a way of encouraging greater communication between generations. One generation might miss an opportunity to know of Tito Schipa, Deanna Durban, Luke Kelly or even Pink Floyd without this discussion, the other to know of Florence and the Machine, Drake, Ariane Grande or Fr John Misty, or just to miss out on the narrative knowledge of growing up through historical and different times. The experience led to the idea of an arts project, initially in TUH and then in the community where using simple digital technology, which can often divide the generations, actually bringing them together, sparking conversations and memories which benefits everyone involved.
From these sessions with students and grandparents, common themes of ‘loss’, ‘nostalgia’ and ‘being unique’ came very much to the fore as why a particular piece of music was important to both groups. These themes and some comments were sent to poet Helen Pizzey who created five lyrical poems to reflect these themes, around which Wilson composed songs for the beautiful Jazz voice of Dublin’s Lauren Kinsella with Chris Montague on electric guitar and Conor Chaplin on double bass. In addition to exploring these themes however it was hoped the project would encourage intergenerational communication about music, and so it transpired from chatting to students and their grandparents, when they visited again to perform the pieces at the schools.
Commenting on the project Professor Rónán Collins, Consultant in Age Related Health Care at TUH said: “I found discussing and viewing clips over YouTube with students and grandparents a very positive intergenerational process of discovery through music and culture. In an increasingly digital world it is important we harness technology to bring generations closer together and not widen the gap further. In addition such interactive reminiscence can improve cognitive and linguistic skills in older people as we demonstrated in the REMPAD project previously in clinical settings and is an easy enjoyable way for one generation to help and learn something novel from the other.
The CD is available on a ‘not for profit basis’ from the Centre for Contemporary Music, 19 Fishamble Street, Dublin 8 (www.cmc.ie) at a cost of €5. (A portion of all sales (€1.64) go to the Meath Foundation charity, a key sponsor of research and arts in health at TUH).
About Tallaght University Hospital
TUH is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. The Hospital has 495 adult beds with 3,000 people on staff. The Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialties. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre. The Hospital also has 67 paediatric beds under the governance of Children’s Health Ireland and 52 mental health beds under HSE governance.
TUH is one of the two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, health and social care professionals, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. TUH is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties.
A new paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre is to be built at TUH as part of the Children’s Health Ireland project as a key element of an integrated clinical network for paediatric services nationally. The Hospital’s Emergency Departments catered for 51,084 Adult Attendance and 32,424 Paediatric Attendance in 2018. A further 293,751 patients were treated through the Hospital’s Adult and Paediatric outpatient clinics in 2018. The Hospital’s operations are supported by 200 general practitioners in surrounding communities and aligned with Community Health Organisation 7.