Magic Me

Magic Me Working with Artists in Essex

Magic Me is working with award-winning animation and installation artist Emma Curtis and film maker, Jane Gull on a project in Rochford, Essex that brings school children from Waterman Primary School together with older people resident in Broomhills Care Home.

The children are visiting the care home each week and together with the residents are sharing stories and thoughts on the theme of ‘party time’. The inter-generational group are also creating an animation about their experiences which will be made into a film to be screened at a sharing event at the school.

Susan Langford, Director of Magic Me is mentoring the artists involved, sharing with them Magic Me’s three decades of experience and practice in the field of intergenerational arts.

The project, run by Essex County Council with Anglia Ruskin University, has been funded through Arts Council England.

Eileen Thorn, Head Teacher at Waterman Primary School said, “Through learning to communicate with older people, our pupils are developing their own self esteem; developing respect across the generations and showing consideration of the needs of the elderly residents.
“This absolutely supports the fundamental values of our school. It has been documented that for elderly residents, working with children, has health benefits, including decrease in symptoms of depression, improved mobility and cognitive skills. We look forward to the end result!”

Cllr Susan Barker, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Community and Customer said, “Introducing arts and culture in care homes provides a wealth of benefits to residents and carers, I am delighted that we are able to facilitate cultural organisations in Essex through funding from the Arts Council.
“We are proud to work closely with cultural organisations in Essex who deliver valuable work to bring our communities closer together, and I look forward to seeing the film of everyone’s experiences.”

In addition to her mentoring role, Essex County Council also commissioned Susan Langford to run a one day workshop introducing artists from across Essex, to the dynamics and practicalities of intergenerational arts projects. Magic Me has a track record of providing training and consultancy support for clients large and small across the arts, community, care and housing sectors. To find out how we might help you contact

Magic Me Nominated for a Liberty Human Rights Arts Award

Magic Me has been nominated for a prestigious Liberty Human Rights Arts Award.

Civil liberties and human rights charity Liberty, has nominated us for one of their Human Rights Arts Awards – the nomination reads as follows:

“Magic Me uses the arts to bring different generations together to spark ideas and build better, closer communities. Musicians, dancers, artists and drama specialists lead brilliant creative projects that stimulate conversations between older and younger generations.

Through their dedicated volunteer base, their Cocktails in Care homes project combats isolation and loneliness in later life. They also use artists’ residencies, intergenerational theatre performances and filmmaking to explore concepts of gender, identity, age and migration. Their range of inventive work challenges stigma, crosses social and cultural divides and celebrates human connections.”

Susan Langford, our Director, says:

“Magic Me is not known as a Human Rights charity, but the rights of older and younger people are central to what we do. Too often older people are seen as a problem to be solved, and are excluded from mainstream activities. Magic Me believes that everyone, however old or young, has much to contribute to their community. We also believe that we all have a right to the enjoyment and sense of achievement offered by the arts. This includes older people living in care homes, and those living with dementia.

Our work really does address the need for us all to continue to treat older people as humans – with rights.  This is particularly true for those living in care homes.

Magic Me’s work demonstrates that older people are valued, and often lets the care staff see them in a different light as more rounded people.  By not dumbing down what we offer artistically we acknowledge that they are entitled to the same full and active life, the same cultural choice that they enjoyed when they were younger.

The young people who are involved benefit too, growing in confidence and learning new social skills. It would be a mistake to see Magic Me as just young people helping older people – they both get something really valuable out of it.  Many of the young people come from disadvantaged homes and communities and our projects offer them a chance to work in-depth with really top-notch experienced artists.”

Cocktails in Care Homes is just one of many intergenerational projects Magic Me has run in its 3 decade long history. Volunteers, often young professionals living locally, visit a care home to create a great ‘night out’ and bring a little of the outside world into the lives of the residents. Monthly early evening parties offer fresh conversation and socialsing, particularly valuable for those who receive no other visitors. Parties run at 12 homes across London, including 3 in Tower Hamlets.

In 2016 Magic Me was commissioned by Public Health Tower Hamlets to help with their Action on Loneliness Project aimed at tackling isolation and loneliness of older people in the borough. This year they brought pupils from John Scurr Primary School together with residents of Hawthorn Green care home to work on the project Stepney Stories. Last year a programme of Artists’ Residencies in Care Homes brought Upswing circus company to Silk Court in Bethnal Green. Magic Me’s current project ‘Decorum’ brings together girls from Mulberry School with older women from East London to explore what ‘good behaviour’ means for women in the 21st Century.

We will find out at the award ceremony on 24th October whether we have won!