Automaton ‘On Tour’ across the Trust – Exploring Ageing through Art.

In 2014 the New Brewery Arts based in Cirencester along with The Orders of St John Care Trust successfully obtained a grant from the Baring Foundation to commission a piece of artwork on the theme of ‘Ageing’. The result was the Automaton which was designed and built by local artist Robert Race.   Robert’s creation was inspired by his travels around the world; created using re-used and recycled materials it has been designed to enrich the lives of older people in care.

The automaton was unveiled on 4 July 2015 at Millbrook Lodge, one of our Gloucestershire homes.  The automaton ‘On-Tour’ schedule over the past 18 months has seen it visit several of our care homes in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.  In April, it will arrive in Lincolnshire for the final stage of its tour, before returning to its home base at Millbrook Lodge in September this year.  As well as being displayed in our homes, "Getting On" has also been exhibited in public, at Gloucester Cathedral, and at two prestigious conferences - the National Dementia Congress in 2015 and, most recently, the First International Research Conference on Arts & Dementia held in London in March 2017.

The automaton has been received with a mixture of enthusiasm and caution by our residents, but with some gentle encouragement, an explanation of how it was built and given time to explore the piece of artwork in their own time, the residents have enjoyed their interaction with it as well as appreciating the work that has gone into creating it. Geoff, a resident of Athelstan House in Wiltshire, told us that, “it was a bit like being at the seaside on the pier”, and. Bert Clews at Ashwood Care Centre in Warminster said he was intrigued with the sculpture and that he had enjoyed winding the marble up the spiral structure, to watch it make its way down again!  He also added that there was so much to explore and do. "Getting On" has also been a great hit with our residents' families and friends both young and old!