Bringing together an interdisciplinary team including digital artists and makers, learning researchers, computer scientists, social historians, older people themselves and those who work with them we are co-producing a set of new digital tools that will address some of the key societal challenges concerning the care and well-being of older people and the legacy of the memories and stories that they leave for future generations. We are exploring the way that tangible technologies might be developed in both historical research and in democratic community building.

The main goal of the project is to help improve the quality of life for residents in care homes by building a sense of community and shared experience through a cooperative exploration of their life history stories. Rather than put these stories on a website, the project seeks to find creative ways to attach stories to objects that are personally meaningful to participants so that they can remind themselves of important memories and share them with others if they choose.  In addition to helping project participants create memory objects they can keep and share, we hope to develop resources for use in other care homes.

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The Graduate School of Education‘s aim is to develop learning and leadership for a changing world through research and teaching that promotes achievement, opportunity and social justice. The Tangible Memories project complements the strengths of the school and contributes to the belief that improving social inclusion is central to the health and future of societies.

The Bristol Interaction and Graphics research group, part of the Computer Science Department, is a creative interdisciplinary team interested in designing novel interactive computers and displays. We specialise in exciting research which couples the design of hardware devices with complex electronic, electrical, and physical properties alongside deployment and evaluation in everyday public settings. We like to call this style of research Human-Hardware Interaction (HHI). The group acts as a hub for collaboration between social scientists, artists, scientists and engineers to combine efficient and aesthetic design.

The Department of History has expertise across a wide range of historic periods and historical approaches, from medieval and early modern to contemporary history which it embeds not only in its research but also in its teaching.


Alive! is a new and exciting charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for older people in care homes. The charity addresses the real need for change in the quality of life for care home residents, targeting issues of loneliness, isolation and depression that many older people face today. For over 5 years it has been doing this by delivering unique, fun and fulfilling activities that stimulate older people on all levels- emotionally, spiritually and intellectually and physically.Alive! sessions include music, poetry, dance, art, art appreciation, guided reminiscence and history. They are the acknowledged innovators of using iPads with people living with dementia and the sessions have been proven to increase good mood, interaction with others and energy levels. As well as delivering activities in care homes across the South and South West, Alive! also provides training for care staff and influences policy makers. Their ultimate goal is a world where all care home residents have a good quality of life with access to choices, learning and meaningful activity.

1398769562139Stand + Stare | Lucy and Barney Heywood

Stand + Stare create interactive installations, exhibitions and immersive performances. Their automated experiences are often based on historical material and memory, which has led them to work with museums, libraries, universities and a variety of organisations seeking innovative ways in which to open up their archives. Their work is characterised by a sense of warmth and nostalgia, with tech elements largely hidden, to allow people to focus on tangible objects and physical experiences. Their vision is to retain a distinctive artistic stamp, whilst striving to subvert their audience’s expectations by finding new platforms for their work, from theatres to care homes. Brother and sister, Barney and Lucy Heywood, established the company in 2009. Whilst they are very much the driving force, they regularly collaborate with people from a range of disciplines including technologists, academics, archivists and even cheesemakers.

HH logo       Heidi Hinder | Artist, maker, designer and researcher

Heidi Hinder is an artist-maker and researcher. Trained in Jewellery, Silversmithing & Related Products, Heidi’s practice now incorporates wearable technology and interaction design, in addition to more traditional art objects. She explores the opportunities afforded by digital innovation in her work, while maintaining integrity to her craft-based training and an adherence to the value of materials and making. Heidi is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham City University (3D Design) and is leading a collaborative research project with the V&A Museum.

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