Sharing ‘Intergen’: a film project bringing generations together in Edzell

On Sunday the 9th of December we got together with members of the community in Edzell to share our film ‘Intergen’: a film made with people from different generations in Edzell. It was great to have the opportunity to share the film with friends and family, and to reflect on the importance and benefits of making new relationships with people from all generations in our community.   

“Intergen is about getting older people to connect with younger people, cos we don’t think that happens enough and because, people treat it like there’s two parts of the community,but that’s not what it is, we’re all part of one community and we want people to feel like that” Gregor, young person from Edzell

Intergen is a project that Rural Wisdom has been working on alongside Edzell School, Edzell Bowling Club as well as individual community members.  It was initiated following our Potting Shed conversations and the Edzell pop up shop in January, through which a number of people in the area expressed their interest in seeing more inter-generational activities happening. 

With this in mind we got in touch with the local school, as well as local organisations like the Cottage who run a weekly lunch-club in the village. 
We learned that most of the student’s taking part in the project knew very few people from the older generation beyond their grandparents: our hope was to change this.  We chose to make a film because we felt it would allow the young people to learn some practical skills along the way, it was something they were interested in and it would allow us to capture the conversations and share them with others. 

We began by running sessions in the classroom, inviting people from the older generation to come and visit the class.  The focus in these sessions was on letting the p7’s and the older people get to know each other by asking questions and exploring themes together.  As one of the older people said:

“I was amazed by how quickly the young people formed a relationship, by the second session they welcomed me in.”

We also worked with the p7’s to design interview questions which would allow them to learn more about people from different generations on camera and to decide where they would like to do their filming.  The p7’s selected the bowling club as this would be a place where we could not only film but hopefully also have fun onthe green!

Members of the bowling club were very accommodating and helped to set up 2 taster sessions for pupils of the school and the older people who had been coming to our sessions.  Bowling together was a great opportunity to break the ice, have fun and learn from each other.  In fact, some of the young people enjoyed the bowling so much that they began attending the bowling club evening sessions more regularly beforethe summer. 

The bowling really summed up the whole project…because everyone could join in, and no matter what age we were we weren’t very good at it!” Jim Houston

During our bowling club sessions we also filmed our interviews and managed to capture some lovely conversations about everything from most treasured memories to hopes and dreams. These conversations really brought home how similar we all are as human beings despite our different life experiences. 

The screening of the film was our final opportunity to celebrate what we’d done. With the p7’s now at various secondary schools in the area we wanted to have a final opportunity to come together with those who had been involved as well as friends and family and to reconnect with  the importance of having people of different generations in our lives. 

We showed the film that we had used as inspiration, before Maia and Gregor (young people who had been involved in the project) gave a short introduction to the film we’d created.  Watching the film back was a nice opportunity to remember our experiences together and to reflect on how simple things like a conversation with someone new or a game of bowls can really open us up to new perspectives and opportunities. Following the screening we enjoyed cakes baked for our inter-generational cake competition (Fergus’ family won the competition hands down!) and talked about whether similar projects might happen in the future.  We are hopeful that having established relationships between the school and the bowling club, more inter-generational activities will happen and there have been suggestions of other groups that could be involved in future. 

Reflecting on the project’s impact for him, Jim said: 

“the first one would be fun, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself…and well, it made me think – it made me ponder about the differences in our outlook and theirs.”

Fergus told us he felt the project was a success not just for the moments that were shared during the project but because the relationships formed and the experiences were ongoing: 

“For me it was thought-provoking, I’ve thought about it quite a lot since…and actually now when I’m in Edzell, and I’ve seen 4 or 5 of them since…and they all say “hello” and stop for a chat”

Thanks to everyone from Edzell and beyond, who made this project possible.  As Hope reminds us: “If you’re different ages it doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends!”  So here’sto many more intergenerational friendships in our communities!