Volunteer interview: Lydia


We have interviewed Lydia, artist and art historian based in the UK. Lydia is a volunteer with the foundation Art Explora and has participated in Arts at Home mission sharing arts and culture with the residents. She shares her experience with us:

How did you discover Art Explora?

Art Explora came to my attention thanks to my National Gallery colleague, art historian Ben Street, who acted as an advisor about ways of helping audiences not normally exposed to art, to engage with paintings through their own powers of observation and encouraging a conversation around them.

What’s your best memory of participating in the Arts at Home so far?

When I was told that our art sessions are a highlight of the residents' week.

Why have you chosen to take part in the Arts at Home programme?

I am passionate about making art accessible to people, yet disconcerted that it still tends to be an area only available to the educated, the able bodied and the wealthy.

I am also aware that living in a care home is no picnic, with residents often feeling isolated, overlooked and depressed. I relished the opportunity to make them feel valued, listened to and respected.

In which way(s) do you feel care home residents are benefiting from the art sessions you deliver?

To be given an opportunity to speak and be heard and to be spoken to without being patronised and infantilised is perhaps the greatest benefit.

There is of course also the element of entertainment and education and the opportunity for the exposure to a work of art to stimulate memories, verbal exchange and mental well-being, which can also lead to an improvement in physical well being.