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IMMA: The Slow Looking Series

3 min read

IMMA: The Slow Looking Series

3 min read


IMMA: The Slow Looking Series

Joan Walker is a member of IMMA’s Visitor Engagement Team and delivers IMMA’s Engagement & Learning Programmes including the programmes for older people. She writes about the Slow Looking Series, a collection of accessibly-produced videos for participants to watch a guided exploration of selected artworks from the IMMA Collection which are being made available to people in residential facilities.

“With thanks to the generous funding from Creative Ireland, we have been able to expand IMMA’s online programmes to our audiences. This addition, The Slow Looking Series, is presented by members of the Learning and Engagement Team. The title comes from our approach, to take a slow look at art; to question the artist’s intention and our response to it. The first of these 10 videos, is a mindfulness session for the viewer, so as to be fully open and relaxed before sampling one of the videos. Think of it as an aperitif, to whet the appetite, before selecting from the menu!

Currently we offer virtual tours and art discussion through Zoom, our Art & Ageing programmes include Armchair Azure, Talking Art Online and Resource Packs, Studio 10, along with virtual tours and as I write we are expanding to bring our exhibitions to more art lovers young and old. When we spend time with all groups and individuals, no matter their age, we like to take this calm approach, to allow time to absorb the artwork and most importantly, to be curious.

What all these groups have in common is a curiosity. An insatiable curiosity to learn more, to create more, to imagine and share their experience with the group. I feel so privileged to be part of this. I love being with curious people who enjoy the challenge of being thrown a “curve ball”. It’s great how everyone dives in with their feedback, no matter how obscure the work may be. Most of all, I am, so many times, in awe, of the richness of their honestly and insight.”

Slow Looking Art: 'Tree' by Niamh McCann

Open Video

“When you talk art or make art with participants on the Art & Ageing projects, it is always a rewarding and appreciated experience. Older people and indeed middle-aged people often say, “on the inside I am still only 21”. When you connect creatively with people that’s just how it is, age peels away and you work with the spirit of the individual. As these sessions progress, everyone become more involved and respond by sharing their thoughts and experiences. Stories, knowledge, facts are revealed. Something you never saw before is seen by someone else. Each time you come together a new magic happens. I like to think everyone who participates comes away with the same uplift, that they have something new and original to enhance their day, to tell their friends and family. Working with all groups is a pleasure for me, working with older people can be particularly empowering because the value they bring from their life experience.”

Art and Ageing: A Moment of Mindfulness with Paola Catizone

Open Video

The secret, I believe is to remain curious, our veteran gallery-goers are curious, they are hungry to know more, they never stop looking, learning and seeking answers, they are not afraid to share their feelings, they don’t hold back and they have that confidence, that comes with age, to say exactly what they think.

“The four characteristics of humanism are curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race.” – E.M. Forster.

Joan Walker is a member of IMMA’s Visitor Engagement Team and delivers IMMA’s Engagement & Learning Programmes including the programmes for older people.

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