Living Room Artist Residencies: Woodford House

‘I’m On The Phone..’ is the title of the audio artwork artist Sally Tonge produced during her four-month residency at Woodford House Nursing Home in Tyrsull near Wolverhampton.

During her residency the artist worked with residents, many in the later stages of dementia, to create stories, songs and music which were recorded and mixed into a soundtrack and installed on an mp3 player in a retro telephone. When the handset is lifted it triggers songs, stories and music, including poignant reminiscences by residents.

The artwork was launched at special celebration, when residents’ families and friends are invited to come and experience the audio artwork. The phone has subsequently formed part of a new sensory room at Woodford House and residents have continued to engage with the artwork individually or with staff and families as part of reminiscence therapy.

“It’s something really different. Music has a really calming effect, you can just see the reaction from residents. It’s also having a positive impact on staff bringing out the extrovert side of people.”
Woodford Staff Member

“Not only does the sound track we’ve created provoke lots of memories but the fact that it’s housed in an old phone adds an extra dimension of story and opportunity for people to recall past experiences.”
Sally Tonge

Sally Tonge is a Storyteller Musician and Community Artist with over 20 years of experience working in participatory art. She has published and performed nationally and specialises in working with people living with dementia and their families, undertaking residencies in hospitals, care homes and Dementia Cafes.