A Grundtvig Project

Drama & the Elderly: DCP HELSINKI June 10-11, 2015

DCP grupp

This was the first time that the theme of applied drama & the elderly was addressed as its own seminar in Finland. The event provided the opportunity for a diverse, multilingual, multigenerational and multiprofessional group of participants to come together to share knowledge, experience and to network.

The seminar was a great success! The topics of the seminar were strong and powerful: Using Drama with the Elderly. As a large group of diverse participants, we integrated various different working methods on a multilingual level and working simultaneously across different language groups was particularly powerful: English, Swedish, Finnish and sign language. This made the seminar accessible to diverse groups.

This was an excellent professional development opportunity. There was sharing of knowledge by experienced practitioners and younger colleagues. The participation of the senior citizens was especially fruitful and made the work meaningful.

We experimented with new forms of work alongside more traditional workshops (learning by doing) and presentations:
carousel (where we invited outside organisations to share their programs in a rotating fashion in order to broaden the network)
open space (which was a directed, but self-organising way to empower the participants of the seminar to discuss the topics which they felt were of importance
graphic facilitation which was used as a way to document the talks, workshop take-always and tacit knowledge/thoughts of the participants. It offered an ongoing reflection of the work we were doing.


Presentations: For example, the outside speakers brought new research from the field of health and social care from different perspectives

We had input from Sweden via Margret Lepp from Gothenburg University who was able to share her vast resources and research outcomes, giving the participants more evidence of how drama can reactivate memory.


Merja Mäksisalo-Ropponen, underlined the importance and contribution drama can make to the care of the elderly.

The work was intensive and beneficial
The wide variety of participant backgrounds (diverse, multigenerational, multi professional) gave us a wide lens through which to examine the emerging issues. The seminar provided an opportunity for people, both from within and outside of Finland, to familiarize themselves with the Finnish Swedes


The attendance was good and the commitment was strong. When planning our final seminar, we had hesitated making it a two-day seminar. However, we were happy to see that the participants stayed until the end, with most attending both days. Participants felt that there was a non-threatening environment and we they were able to discuss difficult issues relating to elderly care & societal challenges.


There was a good blend of academic research and practical knowledge.
New forms used like: carrousel & open space—provided room to share information and experiences from different perspectives. It allowed different organizations and practitioners to bring attention to the work they are doing and it allowed participants to raise their own voices, discussing issues which they felt were meaningful.

The seminar was facilitated well. There was also good visual support to guide the large group work.

Participants loved the international approach. The following were especially highlighted:
· Exploring cultural differences.
· Sharing practice.
· Cross pollination of methods: different strains of applied drama, dance, music, storytelling, etc.
· As seasoned practitioners we identified many similarities as well as differences in the sources of our work.
· As with each previous meeting, we got closer to each other and our partners.
Many people learnt much more about the theme, as drama and the elderly was not new issue for them.
The research angle was important to be able to bring evidence to light about how drama can, for example, really make positive changes to the lives of elderly people suffering from memory loss.

What could have been done better and how? Although there had been much planning beforehand, we found it challenge to use of the space well with regards to the acoustics.
The core group did not get to attend each other’s workshops due to scheduling constraints
1.5 hours was challenging for the workshop (2 hours would have been better)
The invitation letter to the international partners could have come earlier and that would have helped with the practical arrangements

Network cooperation- are we ready to continue?
· We are ready to continue working through this living network.

Margret Lepp (from Gothenburg University) showed a concrete interest to begin working with the group.

We will begin to familiarize ourselves with the new Erasmus Plus programs as it is important to deepen and widen our co-operation
we now know each other very well,
we know that we can work with each other successfully,
we have already made the initial investment of time and energy and have created a fruitful ground on which to build our professional practice.


One response

  1. Katrin Nielsen

    Still nice to read! Great Memories of that!

    October 22, 2015 at 6:57 pm

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