From the Negative to the Positive

The latest exhibition in the Gallery Oldham foyer runs until 2 February. From the Negative to the Positive is the result of a series of workshops led by three artists – photographer Ian Beesley, poet Ian McMillan and cartoonist Tony Husband. They have been working with ‘The Ragamuffins’, a group of local people with dementia, and between them have created this exhibition that expresses their thoughts, hopes and experiences.


The sessions are part of the ‘A Life More Ordinary’ project. Through collaboration with people who have dementia, carers, relatives and other supporters, the project aims to create a series of arts-based activities which provide a positive but realistic look at the experiences of those living with dementia. Members of the group shared images and stories of their lives and joined in activities with the artists. The exhibition presents some of the images and poems produced during these sessions.

Terry, a founder member of the Ragamuffins, says “Each month we are treated to friendly, humorous and often thought provoking chats on subjects such as local history and local customs, all ably led by the skillful guidance of Ian McMillan, Ian Beesley and Tony Husband.  These chats in themselves stimulate participation throughout the group with members often feeling delighted that their medium or long term memory is being given a boost!”

The exhibition does not mark the end for the Ragamuffins. In 2018 they will continue to meet and to work with Ian, Tony and Ian at Gallery Oldham. In the coming year they will be exploring the Gallery’s collections and archives and continue to share stories and find inspiration!

Funding for the exhibition project has come from the IDEAL study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research. The IDEAL study is led by the University of Exeter. You can find out more about the project here