Certified Facilitator Spotlight: Yoko Hayashi

As part of TimeSlips’ ever-growing network of Certified Facilitators continues to expand our membership past 1,000 individuals, we are excited to feature guest blogs from a diverse treasure of individuals from around the world. This month, we are pleased to introduce you to Yoko Hayashi. Read below for inspiration on how one person’s training in TimeSlips inspired new programs in Japan and collaborations with other Certified Facilitators around the world!

Yoko Hayashi founded Arts Alive in 2009 with the aim of empowering those underserved through participatory arts programs. She developed ARTRIP, an evidence-based art program for people with dementia, and offers training seminars for art conductors, its program facilitator. She has authored numerous publications and holds an MFA from Columbia University in Arts Administration. She is currently a Professor of Arts Management at Shobi University.

How did you come across TimeSlips? I came across TimeSlips when I observed a program at a day center on the Upper East side of New York.  A woman created a story with a group of seniors there using a vintage photograph of a female pilot. I found it very interesting.  Later, I learned it was TimeSlips. I then heard Anne Basting’s name (TimeSlips’ Founder and Lead Creative Strategist) multiple times and met her in other collaborations, and decided to take the online training.

What was your experience with the training that had the greatest impact on you? I was lucky that Kathy Hawkins (now TimeSlips’ Engagement Coordinator), who resides in Cleveland, came to observe my sessions at Judson Manor while I was there in 2015 for another collaboration.  She gave me valuable advice during my coaching to complete my certification.  

What is it that you do and how does that overlap with your TimeSlips training? I founded a non-profit arts organization dedicated to making arts accessible to underserved individuals, including seniors with dementia, in Japan. It is called ARTRIP, an inquiry-based program now with 30 art museums and dozens of care facilities across my country. I train art conductors (program facilitators totaling 250 people and growing) to disseminate ARTRIP.   

What I learned from TimeSlips training was very helpful in developing the training course for ARTRIP.  I also learned how to ask sensory questions such as temperature, smell, and texture, as well as asking, “What will happen next?”  

I’ve conducted TimeSlips on several occasions in Japan since I returned in 2015.  When I tell my ARTRIP art conductors about TimeSlips, some of them got interested in it.  One woman, whose husband has dementia, loved the idea of TimeSlips and asked me to hold six sessions.  The participants loved TimeSlips!  She compiled those six stories into a booklet with a grant.  

With the COVID-19 pandemic, I realized I also needed to disseminate this wonderful program of TimeSlips along with ARTRIP in Japan. So I applied for a grant to create a booklet which contains nine stories based on three images chosen by certified facilitators in Japan (me), Italy (Luca Carli Ballola)  and Australia (Lisa Hort) in these three languages to let people in Japan and the world know about the creativity of people with dementia. (Editor’s note: the book is currently in process.)

One great thing about TimeSlips is that the session materializes into something concrete, a story, and can be printed as a story.   I am now planning a training course for Photostory, a program inspired by Timeslips with support from Anne Basting and TimeSlips.         

What is one emotion you see in elders when they are creative in their community? They seem very happy and confident in themselves.  It seems they reclaim their self esteem.   I love to see the change happening to them during ARTRIP or Photostory from being passive to active and joyful. Those who refuse to disclose their feelings or speak out gradually start sharing their emotions through an image of art or photograph.  I feel some miracles are happening and their creativity is being awakened!

What do you think we all can learn from elders? 
So many things:  

  • They are wise men and women with so many experiences that have been both good and bad.    
  • They are very sensitive and they see through the surface of things as if they have a sixth sense.     
  • They are so pure.  They do not pretend. They are honest to themselves.  They are straight forward.  I feel in sync with them as I also want to be honest to myself.  With them, I feel very comfortable as I can also be honest with my own feelings.  

What is your hope for the future of creative aging, both in your country and around the world? I hope that without difficulties we can continue to enjoy the arts until the day we leave this world. One of the reasons I founded Arts Alive is that I do not like the way seniors live at facilities.  Here in Japan, they are well-taken-care-of physically (like taking a bath regularly and eating good, hot meals regularly with a bit of exercise and adequate medical care). But there were no arts or creative activities, so I created the programs so that I can also enjoy when I become old.       

What is your favorite food? Gee, this is the toughest question! I love food.  There is so much great food in Japan and the world. I like HITSUMABUSHI, a grilled eel. If you want a great recipe, here is one:  This is a special treat. You can enjoy this meal in three different ways.