Dial brings things back to the basics: two people, a phone and the time to engage creatively and connect meaningfully

Connecting elders through creative conversations

During lockdown we saw older people reduced to negative numbers and throwaway figures. From the treatment of older people in care homes, to their increased isolation and lack of connectivity – it’s clear that there’s need for a conversation about the way we treat older people, and for change in our society. Older people deserve better. They deserve safer spaces. Clearer connectivity. Creative interactions that go beyond practicalities. To be more than a tally of numbers.

During lockdown we paired 5 Greater Manchester artists with 25 elders from across the region with the simple aim of connecting with one another. We called this project ‘Dial’ as it took place over telephone between 2 people. Through Dial we wanted to reduce isolation for participants who might not have the digital skills or internet access to take part in online activities during a period of extended isolation.

Over 150 hours of conversation took place before our creative collective hung up their phones to one another. During that time, they laughed together, sang together, drew portraits of one another, wrote poems, talked politics and pandemics, shared life stories and recipes, created maps and imagined fantasy lands together.