Media Release: Local residents’ memories turned into art

Astrid Jaekel

RESIDENTS at an Edinburgh care home recently got the chance to see their memories brought to life in a book put together by an exhibited artist.

Astrid Jaekel, originally from Ireland, compiled the book called, ‘We Used to Jive a Bit… I Couldn’t Do That Now’, after her quest to find out more about the capital from people’s experiences.

Four residents from Bield’s Haugh Street care home in Stockbridge were given the chance to tell their stories for the book after providing Astrid with anecdotes of their time in Edinburgh.

The book which was originally an art installation for Astrid’s degree show looked at the lives of the Bield residents aged between 70 and 80 and also included portraits of them and different memories of life growing up in Edinburgh, from summers on Portobello beach to the hardships of being homeless.

Astrid said: “I had a great time speaking to the residents at Haugh Street and thoroughly enjoyed putting this book together of what was a real life account of life in Edinburgh.

“This project was born out of a genuine sense of curiosity I felt when moving to Britain and to Edinburgh. My aim was to delve beyond the obvious and to find out people’s attachments to a city as opposed to the more official accounts of history.

“Through this project I have discovered a side of Edinburgh that otherwise may have not opened up to me.”

Astrid first broke the ice with the four residents by having tea and biscuits with them which then turned into a series of recordings taken over three months.

Isabella Crawford who has been a resident at Bield’s Stockbridge care home for over 13 years, said: “This experience has let me remember the good old days and how pretty Edinburgh used to be.

“I had not thought about my days spent on Portobello beach and the games we played for a long time so it was good fun going through my memories and having them illustrated. It was also great to see how my portrait turned out.”

Astrid said: ‘It was lovely to see how excited and proud the residents were of the book. We all became good friends and I still visit them now for cups of tea.”

Brian Logan, chief executive of Bield, said: “As Scotland’s leading provider of housing, care and community services for older people we are dedicated to providing quality care which enhances and enriches lives.

“Our ‘Free to Be’ philosophy which is at the heart of what Bield is all about, allows older people who still have ambition and drive the freedom to do the things they love but which might otherwise be taken away without the right help and support.”

Bield – a registered charity – has grown from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of a wide range of housing and services for around 15,000 people across 22 local authority areas.

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Contact: Gaynor Daniel
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