Artist's work exploring ageing wins Kent Creative Award
26 May 2016
Local artist Leah Thorn has been named as Creative Champion of the Year at the Kent Creative Awards.
The awards celebrate the best in arts and culture in Kent, with the aim to support and develop the creative community and its contribution to the county’s well-being and economy.
Leah has been awarded the accolade in recognition of her work as the Leverhulme Artist in Residence, a collaboration between the Centre for Health Services Studies (CHSS) at the University of Kent and the England Centre for Practice Development (ECPD) at Canterbury Christ Church University.
During her ten month residency in 2015, the Folkestone artist explored the concept of aging, focusing on dementia and the impact the condition has on the older person and their family. She also explored the transitions of women into the first phase of being older.
“It was an honour to be nominated for the Award and winning it is a great recognition of the power of creativity as a tool for change”, said Leah. “It’s an award for me but also for the many people who have entrusted me with their creativity and their stories.”
Congratulating Leah Thorn, Professor Patricia Wilson, Professor of Primary and Community Care at the University of Kent, said: “This is a great recognition of the power of creativity as a tool for change. I hope that Leah’s work will encourage researchers and practitioners to view challenges in a different way and to come up with new solutions.”
Carrie Jackson, Director of the ECPD at Canterbury Christ Church University, added: “Leah has had three abstracts of her work accepted for the International Practice Development Collaborative Enhancing Practice 2016 conference being held in Edinburgh in September 2016 supported by the England Centre for Practice Development”
Her short film Watch, which was part of her residency, draws upon her own personal experience of caring for her father who had dementia. In the film she explores how memory is central to a person’s identity and the impact of dementia on family relationships. The film uses the tenderness of language and the insight of humour to explore ideas of loss, vulnerability, survival and memorialisation.
It also stimulates a new way of thinking about the impact of dementia, giving a platform to design a new way of family and community-centred services; as well as a way of getting ‘inside’ the experience of a family living with dementia, which will help to provide an accurate representation of a person-centred and holistic approach to dementia.