Yemeni Elders’ Heritage: Collective Power Award
We are delighted to be involved again this year with the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance’s (CHWA) annual awards which focus on collective power (partnership and co-production), practitioner support and climate. The awards ceremony is taking place online on Friday 25 November (get your tickets here).
We are partnering with CHWA on their Collective Power Award. This award aims to recognise an inspiring project, consortium, collective or movement of people in which meaningful partnership and co-production has improved the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities through culture and creativity. CHWA were positively overwhelmed by the quality of applications. Each application told another story of the incredible work happening all over the country and the amazing collaborative and creative spirit of people responding to individual, local and global challenges. We loved the different interpretations of “collective power” and we were blown away by how people and organisations worked together to respond and adapt during the pandemic.
In order to celebrate this work, we are running a blog series on each of the projects shortlisted for the Collective Power Award. This blog features National Museums Liverpool’s Connecting with Yemeni Elders’ Heritage project, which was inspired by a young man Abdul, from Liverpool’s Yemeni community, who wanted to support elders living with dementia through the House of Memories programme.
Abdul connected and encouraged more than 40 Yemeni young people to support the development of a dual language (Arabic and English) heritage package within the My House of Memories app, to assist elders to capture and digitize their heritage stories and traditions to share with younger people.
The intergenerational value of the program re-connected Yemeni culture and heritage across the UK, creating community pride in the co-curation of the first dementia friendly, digital Yemeni collection of its kind, and its promotion within and across the wider Yemeni community.
The app was launched on 7 June 2022 hosting more than 100 digital objects, music, and film sections and powerfully demonstrates the ethos of collective community partnership.
“We are delighted to be nominated for the Connecting with Yemeni Elders’ Heritage project and wish to recognise and congratulate Abdul, his peers and community elders, as inspirational wellbeing ambassadors.
“Their collective commitment and support have enabled the creation of an innovative digital intervention for the UK Yemeni community, and wider dementia community. The project has delivered a world first digital tool connecting Yemeni elders across the globe to recognise the value of creative ageing and living well with dementia.”
What has been your favourite thing about the project?
Our favourite part of the project has been when the bilingual Memories of Yemen content package became available to the community via the My House of Memories app in June 2022. It was fantastic to see the culmination of so much work from so many stakeholders come together and produce something impactful which will really resonate with elders and families within the Yemeni community. All involved have commented on how rewarding it has been to see members of the community interact with the digital content on the app and come across something meaningful to them, which has sparked a memory or conversation about Yemen with a friend or family member.
Have you made and learnt from any mistakes along the way?
We have learned that flexibility is key to projects involving members of the community and stakeholders from a range of organisations, and that adapting your usual practices can really have an impact on the success of the project and build trust among those involved.
For example, we found that unlike many other projects we have worked on, stakeholders predominantly liked to interact face-to-face in buildings within the community, rather coming to an office or speaking via email or phone. This felt very corporate to those who didn’t have prior experience working with large organisations. As such, wherever possible we met in a community setting and ensured key members of the project team were consistently visible at events and meetings. This helped everybody to forge stronger connections and build trust, ensuring success of the project.
Has anything surprised you during the project?
In some ways, we were surprised by the overwhelming support we had for the project throughout its duration. We knew the project had real collective power behind it from the start, however – as many involved in similar projects will know – enthusiasm can fade over time, especially when the project is being delivered over the course of many months. Despite the length of the project, all involved remained engaged with it and committed to delivering something special for the Yemeni community throughout its duration, whether that was young people volunteering at events, or older people sharing images, text and their memories of Yemen for the app. The time, generosity and commitment given by all involved has been truly fantastic to see.
To find out more
Image 1: © Gareth Jones
Image 2: © Robin Clewley
Image 3: © Robin Clewley