Visit our Winter exhibition

IA Time & Tide: Art & Identity exhibition

Art and Identity is the final exhibition created as part of Independent Arts Time & Tide project funded by Arts Council England, and displayed at Dimbola Museum and Gallery.

Time & Tide has paired local history and the arts to bring opportunities for older people to engage with cultural pursuits. Art and Identity was the first foray into portraiture for the artists, many of whom had not even picked up a digital camera before being involved in Time & Tide. The portraits were produced by older people, at workshops run by Independent Arts in Southern Housing Group sheltered housing schemes. The work is inspired by discussing the themes of art and identity and learning about Julia Margaret Cameron’s pioneering work in photography. Local visual artist Julian Winslow mentored the photographers to produce this fantastic body of work.

Project Manager Hannah Griffiths said:

“Art and Identity has been a fitting end to Time & Tide, as our artists were given the opportunity to reflect on themselves and how this year-long project has brought a change in them. The quality of work produced by our older artists has been outstanding. Seeing their confidence grow with every workshop has been wonderful and for many of our artists Time & Tide has been a life changing experience. It has been an honour for Independent arts to give them this opportunity.”

Private view to be held on Friday 11th January 6-8pm & Saturday 12th January 2 – 4pm (older artists to be in attendance)

Art and Identity will run from January 14th until February 17th 2019 at Dimbola Museum and Gallery, Terrace Lane Freshwater. Open 10am – 4pm, closed Monday. Free Entry to the exhibition from 13th – 20th January.


Changing Spaces, making care homes creative places

Press release, October 29th 2018

Changing Spaces

Isle of Wight Charity Independent Arts has received funding from The Dunhill Medical Trust to launch an ambitious two-year project, Changing Spaces, to make care homes a hub for creativity and the arts.

The funding will allow care homes to receive staff training and arts provision to help boost confidence and understanding of the importance of the arts for quality of life, health and wellbeing. In turn these improvements will translate to a better working environment for care staff, a better home for residents and improvements in CQC (Care Quality Commission) reports. The project will be evaluated by a team from Winchester University.

Morning workshops will encourage conversation and sharing, using interesting items from the Museums’ Heritage Loans Service, sound archive, footage, songs, poetry and stories. Afternoons will follow on with a range of arts-based workshops designed to complement the conversation points from the morning. These will include a practical art activity and music or film.

Hannah Griffiths, Project Manager, said:

“We are very grateful to the Dunhill Medical Trust for their support. Changing Spaces is a unique opportunity for residents and staff to learn about the history of the Isle of Wight together, building relationships along the way and providing a creative space to discuss what they have learned.”

Independent Arts is a thriving Island charity that involves 1800 people every month in arts for wellbeing projects. To learn more, get involved or support the charity, please explore the website. For further information about this project please get in touch.


Independent Arts heads to Westminster

Press release, October 2018

Isle of Wight charity Independent Arts was invited to give evidence to parliament on October 10th on the impact of arts and culture on older people involved in their Arts Council funded project Time & Tide. This was an exciting chance to be an influence policy at the highest level.

Project Manager Hannah Griffiths gave a presentation to the room full of MPs and sector peers about how access to the arts can improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

Time & Tide’s focus is to unlock creativity in older people on the island by inviting them to dive into the island's arts and heritage and then trying their hand at everything from watercolours to photography to large-scale sculpture.

Hannah said: 

"It was an honour to be invited to speak at the House of Commons on our most recent project Time & Tide. I was able to talk about the huge impact on the lives of our artists. It was important to emphasis that learning new skills has a massive impact on the confidence and wellbeing of the people involved as well as helping to form friendships and reducing loneliness. It was a chance to bring real people to the debate. One delegate commented she would have liked to have been involved in a project as wide ranging and exciting as Time & Tide."

The meeting was held by the all-parliamentary committees (APPGs) for Ageing and Older People; and Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

The island's MP Bob Seely also addressed the meeting.

Independent Arts is a thriving island charity that involves 1800 people every month in arts for wellbeing projects. To learn more, get involved or support the charity, please explore our website and get in touch.


Celebrating Age Festival October 2018

Join Independent Arts for our special events during Celebrating Age week: Creative Café (October 1); Drama workshop (October 2); SingAbout Together: An afternoon at the musicals (October 3); Dance Workshop (October 4); Heritage & Arts Café in Seaview (October 5). All are free to attend. See details below.

Celebrating Age Oct 2018

Celebrating Age Oct 2018: IA Time & Tide Dance Workshop


Time & Tide Exhibition (Summer 2018)

Time & Tide Exhibition

Visit Independent Arts' Time & Tide exhibition at The Learning Resources Centre of The Isle of Wight College. The exhibition runs from 23rd May to 9th August 2018 and you can find the opening times here. Sign in at the College reception.

See the results of our arts and heritage sessions so far. Working with eleven partner organisations who shared their resources (Newport Roman Villa, Dimbola Lodge, Dinosaur Isle, the Classic Boat Museum, Isle of Wight Museums Service, to name just a few), we aimed to inspire, encourage creativity and facilitate cultural engagement for older people people on the Isle of Wight.

For many, attending our Time & Tide workshops has been an absolute first. Some participants have used workshops as a stepping stone, reconnecting with the creative process, building skills and confidence. We have fledgling potters continuing to work independently, watercolourists looking to set up regular painting groups, eager researchers delving into the past and photographers investing in their own cameras and heading out for more field trips.

This exhibition is testament to the hard work and commitment of all those who have taken part so far. Time & Tide is funded by Arts Council England.

More workshops are planned, so there's still time to join in!

Join us for Time & Tide sessions at your local library (August and September 2018)

Time & Tide library sessions (June – August 2018)

Time & Tide library sessions



Time & Tide arts and heritage café (April to June 2018)

  • Heritage of Landscape: Learn about how Neolithic man shaped the Island and try your hand at working with clay.

  • The Bawdy Georgians: Tales of smugglers and derring do! Have a go at recreating watercolours of the IOW.

  • Poverty, Pomp and Prosperity: Taking a rich cross section of Victorian life and labour in the Island’s county town, these workshops will draw upon an intriguing collection of early 19th Century photographs from the Dore collection (Isle of Wight Heritage Services) together with some arresting documents from the Public Records Office. Offering a fascinating flavour of life, from the House of Industry, to the growth of civic pride and the bustling life of the high street.

See dates below:

Time & Tide library sessions

Time & Tide Arts and Heritage Café (January – February 2018)

Join us for our Time & Tide Arts and Heritage Cafés to explore a fabulous collection of original Roman artefacts and learn about the history of Newport's very own Roman Villa. You will have the chance to handle some beautiful objects and find out more about their history. Inspired by this trip back in time, you will have the opportunity to create your own work of art! Painting, pastels, printing, mosaics and more.

Time & Tide Romans


Independent Arts triptych collaboration unveiled

Press release, November 2017

On Friday 1st December 2017 Isle of Wight Leonard Cheshire Disability home, Appley Cliff in Shanklin, will unveil an artwork that celebrates diversity, personality and a passion for life.

It is the culmination of a joint project between Appley Cliff and Independent Arts that has been several months in the making.

Appley Cliff Activities Worker, Peter Harris, and Independent Arts Project Manager, Caroline Thorn, started their collaboration in October 2016 when Peter and the residents, fed up with the plain and neutral appearance of the residents’ dining room approached Independent Arts with a proposition to transform their dining space into a spectacular celebration of vibrant colour and contemporary design.

Talented local artist, and Independent Arts practitioner Leigh Jackman, was chosen to lead the creative process with her unique blend of textured effects and bold style.

Speaking about the project, Peter Harris said,

“The beauty of this process is that the residents have been immersed in the entire experience throughout; rather than having an artist do the work for us, Leigh has really captured a piece of each and every residents’ personality in the finished work.

“This is what makes this piece incredibly unique and truly inclusive.”

Independent Arts Project Manager Caroline Thorn said,

“It has been an absolute joy to work with all the staff and residents at Appley Cliff. This is the first time Independent Arts has undertaken such a large scale piece of work and hopefully not the last.

“Unearthing such creative talent among the residents is what really makes this project special and although this part of the project has now come to an end I see a very bright future full of more expression, more creativity and a lot more fun as our charity partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability continues.”

The final three piece triptych design has now been completed and measuring 4ft high and 18ft long is a real testament to the hard work and dedication from all involved.

A celebratory party with a grand unveiling of the artwork took place at Appley Cliff, 8 Popham Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 6RG on Friday 1st December 2017.


The Poetry of Dementia exhibition (October 2017)

The Poetry of Dementia features fragments of poetry created by residents of Isle of Wight care homes during writing workshops led by Independent Arts practitioners, which have been matched with images by Kate Ball to create a series of beautiful panels. These went on display in the homes for residents, staff and visitors to enjoy.

Independent Arts brought the work to the wider public in this fascinating exhibition held at:

  • Lord Louis Library, Orchard Street, Newport, from 25th October to 23rd November 2017
  • Full Circle restaurant at St Mary's Hospital, Newport, from 28th November to 13th December 2017

More information below.

Poetry of Dementia exhibition

Poetry exhibitionIn 2016-17 Independent Arts ran a series of creative writing workshops in six residential homes across the island. The work shown in this exhibition has been selected from the body of writing that came from those workshops. Creative writing is an expressive medium particularly suited to those in long term residential settings and living with dementia. The project involved supported sessions with qualified practitioners who mediated ideas and imaginative expression through shared discussion to create beautiful pieces of poetry.

Participants listened to poetry and music and worked with a collection of tactile and visual resourses. In putting this exhibition together we wanted to display participants' contributions with sensitivity and dignity. Text is paired with specially created images, many from island locations, which aims to interpret, rather than simply illustrate, their voices.

What we learned from working with these groups in particular is that, even under the onslaught of a debilitating cognitive illness such as dementia, the human spirit retains an enduring ability for profound self-expression, and that where vocabulary may be lost, the mind still searches and seeks out beautiful ways to express itself creatively, and poignantly.

Human beings never lose the joy of language. These panels are full of invention, rhyme and curious pairings of words that create whole new worlds of meaning populated by strange 'tilseys' and 'mowbys', where people are stricken with 'mogity bogity' and where we first encountered the word 'pigifee'!

See the gallery page for more on this exhibition.




Independent Arts offers a support service to charities and not for profit organisations through our iCreate strand.
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Independent Arts for everyone

Did you know Independent Arts works with small groups and individuals as well as in residential homes?

We can help you arrange music sessions, art classes, photography classes, themed reminiscence sessions and chair-based movement sessions. See our Workshops pages for ideas.

If you are part of an organisation or group and would like to book a practitioner, please
contact us

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What's On?

Find out what's going on this week. Here's our calendar of all Independent Arts' regular community sessions

Independent Arts Calendar


Jim Bodle

We are sad to learn that Independent Arts' trustee Jim Bodle died recently. Jim had volunteered his time as a trustee and director of the charity since 2011 and was a much-valued, knowledgeable member of our team – a "wise owl" as one fellow-trustee described him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival

 Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival 2018

Our photography-themed tree for the Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival remains on display at Brighstone Church (St Mary's) until after Christmas. Do take a peek!

Anxiety Café photographic exhibition

Anxiety Café photographic exhibition

The Quay Street Triangle is an exhibition of photographs looking at the area around Quay Street where Anxiety Café meets weekly. The exhibition is the culmination of a four-week project led by Independent Arts’ practitioner Mark LLoyd, starting with basic camera skills and looking at colour, form and texture.

The photographers were instructed to look at their surroundings in a new way, to capture the streets from a different angle.

Anxiety Café looks at ways of helping anxiety through creativity. Project Manager and participant Hannah Griffiths said:

“The photography project has been a joy. We’ve loved learning and practising new skills in the safe environment that the group provides. Seeing the work up for members of the public to appreciate is a great boost for the confidence and self-esteem of our group. Hopefully this will help people see that there is more to us than our anxiety."

The exhibition can be viewed at the Lord Louis Library in Newport until 30th November.`

Exhibition opening times:
Mon, Tues, Weds and Fri 9.00am–5.30pm
Thurs: 11.00am–7.00pm
Sat: 9.00am–5.00pm

Anxiety Café meets weekly at Quay Street Methodist Church Hall. For more information about the group, please contact us

Anxiety Café photographic exhibition


Primary pupils and care home residents learn together!

Schoolroom in a Care Home

Our project brings a schoolroom into a care home. Read about it here.


WightAid supports Anxiety Café

Thanks to WightAid for donating £1000 towards Independent Arts' Anxiety Café. Here is WightAid's Steve Porter presenting the cheque to Independent Arts' project manager Hannah Griffiths.

WightAid cheque


Thank you Co-op shoppers!

Co-op shoppers raised a whopping £1402.87 for Independent Arts' weekly Creative Café project in 2017 through the the Co-op's community fund. Thank you for choosing to support Independent Arts!

Coop Community Fund cheque presentation

Fundraising focus

David's Big Run

A huge thank you to David Waller, who set himself the challenge of running all the way from the Isle of Wight to Bath in Somerset during May 2017, raising more than six hundred pounds for Independent Arts! David is a regular at our Ventnor SingAbout group and says,

"The sessions are led by Creative Practitioner Lizzie Flynn who is so vibrant and inspiring and I love attending. Recently Independent Arts asked if anyone would be interested in fundraising for them. Independent Arts is such a small charity on the Isle of Wight but have always enabled their community groups to remain free for everyone to attend. I thought what a perfect way to help them raise money and continue the valuable work they do."

Inspired? It's easy to get started with fundraising for Independent Arts. Please check out our fundraising ideas page or contact us for more information.


Getting Creative in Care Toolkit available

Our Toolkit for care home activities coordinators, packed full of ideas and guidance for running activities, is available to download.
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Donate to Independent Arts

Please help Independent Arts to improve more people's lives through our community arts projects on the Isle of Wight. To donate securely online to Independent Arts simply click on the "donate" icon below and follow the instructions. 100% of your donation comes to the charity.



For other ways to donate to Independent Arts, or to fundraise for us, see this page.

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