Glasgow Stroke Survivors Explore City’s Cinematic Heritage through Museum Exhibition 06 December 2023 A joint project between Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and Glasgow Museums has given members of the charity’s stroke communication support groups the opportunity to explore Glasgow’s rich cultural heritage. At the end of an eight-week project, the group created their own community exhibition that has gone on display at the city’s Kelvin Hall until the spring. For generations, going to “the pictures” was a highlight of the week, the scene of many a first date or a night out with your pals to see the latest blockbuster. Now an innovative collaboration between Glasgow Museums and leading charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has taken a group of people recovering from stroke on a trip down the city’s cinematic memory lane. The outcome is a unique exhibition – curated entirely by the group that included stroke survivors, their partners and volunteers – that has now gone on display in the city’s Kelvin Hall. Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s nine museums, works with community groups across the city as part of its strategy for improving health and wellbeing, and giving access to the museums and their collections is a crucial part of that. For this project, the group met weekly in the Kelvin Hall where they were given access to some of the 400,000 archive items kept in storage. Having decided on the topic of cinema, they were then talked through the history of some of the items by the expert curator, including film, photographs and cameras. By the end of the eight weeks, the group had chosen their own items to go on display and their memories or reminisces related to the items – which is usually the job of the curator – recorded to go alongside. The best thing about it for them was getting to see some of the many items that aren’t even on display. That got everyone talking and reminiscing about life and about their memories of cinema in Glasgow. That was wonderful to see because it really encouraged everyone to get involved. Bronwyn Tibbs is the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Community Services Coordinator in Glasgow, and she has been working with Glasgow Life on aphasia awareness and training for several years. Aphasia is a communication disorder that can often affect those who have had a stroke. Bronwyn said: “I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for the people in our communication support groups around Glasgow. We’d done some work with Glasgow Life before, then they suggested this project at the Kelvin Hall, and I thought it sounded great. “I put the request around to our various groups, and we started off with around 12 stroke survivors and their partners coming along. They were all so enthusiastic from the start and really stayed engaged as the weeks went on. “The best thing about it for them was getting to see some of the many items that aren’t even on display. That got everyone talking and reminiscing about life and about their memories of cinema in Glasgow. That was wonderful to see because it really encouraged everyone to get involved. “It’s fabulous to see the exhibition of the items they chose themselves and their own thoughts and memories written down for everyone to read. The project was a really wonderful addition to our things to do for our peer groups, and we’ve continued visiting other museums around the city.” Bronwyn has done aphasia training before with us, which was amazing because it really opened our eyes to something we hadn’t taken into account before. We hope our partnership with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland will continue to thrive. Alicia Watson of Glasgow Life added: “We focus a lot on working with community groups to make sure everyone has access to the museums – they belong to the people of Glasgow, after all. “What was so noticeable about this group was that the archive really brought memories alive for them, and we also saw how happy and vocal they were throughout the sessions. “We’re so pleased that everyone felt comfortable in the space, and we know they did because we’re seeing them return to the Kelvin Hall and going to the other museums now where perhaps before they might not have had the confidence to do this. “Bronwyn has done aphasia training before with us, which was amazing because it really opened our eyes to something we hadn’t taken into account before. We hope our partnership with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland will continue to thrive.” Find out more about our support and services available and how to join our support groups.