Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Painting the power of meaningful music

One piece of art can tell the story of many, and our latest project – a mural created in partnership with SWG3’s Yardworks Studio in Glasgow – beautifully depicts the tale of meaningful music and dementia.

To mark our 10th anniversary year and National Playlist Day on Wednesday 21 September, we wanted to spread the word about Playlist for Life and the work we do in a big way.

With our headquarters based in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city which sits firmly on the cultural map of the UK and is home to world-famous music venues, art galleries and a unique mural trial, we were inspired to make our mark within this tapestry of local talent.

Above: The final mural created by Molly Hankenson. Left: Norrie, Charlie and Gordon, who all live with dementia, taking part in an art engagement session at SWG3 in Glasgow. 

Elvis is my idol. Oh! I have always loved Elvis. That's my favourite Elvis song.

I loved how the engagement session involved doing artwork to music selected from participants and seeing how those aspects from the session were incorporated into the mural. The final result was both stunning and meaningful.

Inspiration from our home city 

The mural commission is the innovative idea of our Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Mehar. Mehar moved to Glasgow from Bengaluru, India with her husband nearly two years ago and was quick to notice the vast and varied art displayed in the city, particularly the vivid murals that are peppered throughout and have caught the eye of locals and tourists for more than a decade. Recognising a piece of art in the city could host a showcase of the importance of personal playlist for dementia, Mehar got to work in making the vision of a Playlist for Life mural a reality. It was music to our ears, pun intended, when SWG3 were onboard!

Creating the mural

To generate ideas for the mural we took part in an engagement session with the team at SWG3 Yardworks and people living with dementia and their families.

While music from people’s personal playlists was played, Laura Frood, Participation and Engagement Lead at SWG3, and Michaela McManus, Yardworks Programme Coordinator, workshopped painting techniques which led to the creation of small canvases before heading outside to create larger artworks with spray paint. The art made was collected and taken as inspiration to create what became the gable end wall mural which incorporates lyrics from the songs from the playlists of people who took part in the session. The mural also features a QR card which passers-by can scan to access our free resources. Resident artist Molly Hankenson, who created the final mural, was inspired to get involved due her own lived experience of dementia.

The eye-catching mural is in prominent view of gig-goers at SWG3 and can be seen from the train between Partick and Charing Cross – two of Glasgow’s busiest intercity stations. It made such a splash, that a story on the mural and our wider work was the subject of an in-depth feature of the Daily Record.

The mural will be in place until April 2024, with its bright colours showcasing the light that music can bring to people living with dementia.

The unveiling of the mural at SWG3 has been really exciting and was such a brilliant way to mark our 10th anniversary and National Playlist Day. Creating the mural alongside people living with dementia and their families with the help of Yardworks was really special. This mural communicates our simple message in a really unique way. We hope it gets people thinking and talking, whether that’s people passing by on their morning commute, or those going to a gig to make new musical memories with friends. We hope it will encourage them to think about how personal music can help people living with dementia and that they create a personal playlist for either themselves or a loved one.