Light Gatherers by Elaine Kordys

Light Gathers by Elaine Kordys


Light Gatherers by Elaine Kordys, Spin Turn Creative Movement

Light Gatherers is a poignant and affecting film which holds possibility and our innate need for connection with others at its core. The film was created throughout Covid 19 by 6 women; Mary and Jill who live at Argyll Care Centre, Emma their Occupational Therapist and the creative team Elaine, Vicki and Katrina. Creative movement sessions were devised to work alongside Mary and Jill's dementia diagnosis with connections being encouraged through the use of evocative objects, sound and dance.  The  creative team then layer these recollections and observations with bespoke found footage and sound creating a film that celebrates story, relationship and creative possibility.

Elaine Kordys:

The drive to make Light Gatherers came from my fundamental desire for connection. At the time of the ‘Your Call’ commission we were 6 months into the pandemic and like many people I felt exhausted, confused and was navigating grief. It pinpointed the loss of the communities and individual relationships I had built in my capacity as a freelance movement artist with older people and people with dementia, some of these relationships had been built over years.

Light Gatherers was a pathway back in. It offered an opportunity to revisit my own creativity and to explore how that could be in conversation with other people in this new digital landscape. Light Gatherers was created by 6 women; Mary and Jill who live at Argyll Care Centre, Emma their Occupational Therapist and myself, Vicki and Katrina the creative team. I believe we all understood from the offset that communication and creativity, in all it’s forms, was the balm which could help to soothe the disconnect being experienced.

Collaboration is like a good bread, it needs the right ingredients, time and attention. It also needs trust. When these are all in place, I believe, people and work can flourish. The yearlong process of making Light Gatherers was challenging and complex. The foundations were constantly shifting as we responded to the evolving restrictions of the care home whilst the impact of Lock downs limited the ability for the creative team to work. In reflection the enforced periods of pause and disconnection allowed for each artist to build their own relationship with the work and investigate areas of their own interest. These new potentials for reflection, listening and growth can often be missed in time and outcome specific art projects. Time was needed to allow for all these shifts and changes alongside a sympathetic and supportive commissioner.

The need to tailor the creative sessions from live to digital and from group to individual completely overhauled my work inviting new possibilities. Both Mary and Jill have a dementia diagnosis and as the sessions were 1:1 they could be bespoke to their interests and needs. The ability to hear and see some-one as they were at that moment was a huge shift from the of the ‘one size fits all’ approach of live group sessions. It liberated me to be able to truly be present for them and provide intimate sessions tailored for their specific needs whilst offering greater autonomy and equality for Mary and Jill.

Care homes are still experiencing the ongoing effects of Covid 19. At this time of writing (16.09.21) residents at Argyll Care Centre are in Lock Down and encouraged not to leave their rooms. Many people in care homes are still not experiencing the kind of freedoms that other people are beginning to enjoy. Alongside all the many other forms of engagement and support creative interventions can ignite conversation, connection and humanise individuals when faced with challenges which threaten to strip away the essence of their being. It is a balm, but it is also a medicine. It was the right bread made for the right time.


Light Gatherers a film by Elaine Kordys, Vicki Fleck and Katrina Brown

Created as part of the Your Call Screendance Commission from Dance Base, thanks to funding from the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund.

Featuring - Jill Broad and Mary Donaldson from Argyle Care Centre

 Concept and Direction - Elaine Kordys

Lead Camera and Edit - Katrina Brown

Additional Camera and edit - Elaine Kordys

Sound Recordist and Dubbing Mixer - Vicki Fleck

With thanks to all staff at Argyle Care Centre

Spin Turn Creative Movement
Creative Scotland
Supported by Edinburgh
Supported by the City of Edinburgh Council
Living Wage