It’s been a busy month at Britannia day care centre in Clevedon. Those who frequent Britannia on Mondays will have had the pleasure of meeting 6 confident, cheerful Y5 pupils from nearby Mary Elton Primary School. The pupils have been participating in Parlour of Wonder sessions led by Gill at Alive! activities. The sessions focus on intergenerational co-learning, sharing and discovery.
The pupils also used the Tangible Memories app on ipads to visually and audibly document their experiences of school, which they shared with older day care visitors who reflected how some things have changed and how other aspects of school life haven’t since they were at were themselves at primary school.
We hope that the pupils will return to Britannia next academic year, but meanwhile, we hope they and the day care centre users have a wonderful summer!
We were delighted recently to be contacted by Emily Nelson at Scarborough Museums Trust. She wanted to talk to us about a project idea they had in which they wanted to use the Tangible Memories StoryCreator app . We were able to offer Emily advice and will continue to work with them as their project develops. It’s great to see the app being used in different parts of the country. Emily has sent the following update on their project, ‘Outside the Box’:
Scarborough Museums Trust and social housing provider Yorkshire Coast Homes are pleased to introduce the ‘Outside the Box’ project, a 12 month reminiscence project which will run monthly reminiscence sessions in 10 different community locations across Scarborough. The sessions will be a great chance for the older people in our community to socialise and meet new people, facilitated through objects from the museum’s handling collections, and the remembrance of the past. Each session will also involve young volunteers, who will be offered oral history and reminiscence training. Once funding has been secured to purchase a number of ipads, these young people will be able to use cutting edge technology, in the form of the Tangible Memories Story Creator App, as they record important oral histories from the local community. We are very excited to work alongside the Parlours of Wonder project through using and providing feedback on this wonderful app.
We’re really excited to announce we’ve just been awarded AHRC follow on funding for our ‘Parlours of Wonder’ project.
This new project will enable us to continue the close work with Alive!, Stand + Stare, an app designer and colleagues in care settings to further embed the project outcomes in their practice and in care settings more widely.
Community engagement is increasingly recognised by the care sector and social care commissioners as vital in tackling issues of social isolation in our older populations living in care. Together we will be co-designing engaging community spaces (parlours) where older people can interact with evocative objects and the StoryCreator app to record and share their memories and life histories. This will involve imagining and creating a new space of discovery, connection, meaning making and mystery, rather like the ‘cabinets of curiosity’ or ‘wonder rooms’ of old. Unlike cabinets of curiosity, our ‘Parlours of Wonder’ will not be designed and curated by us as arts and humanities researchers, artists and computer scientists. Our vision is that these spaces will be co-curated by and for residents, care staff, families and community members. Care managers who have been involved in the TMP project believe there is huge potential to use these Parlours of Wonder for community engagement where local school children, community groups and isolated older people will be encouraged to enjoy a cup of tea and a chat or a more formal encounter, sparking questions, connections, new interests or opportunities for contemplation.
The project builds on and further extends our excellent working relationships with Alive! and Blaise Weston Court (an extra care facility) but will extend our activities to engage new multigenerational audiences, outside of the care settings, with our work. We will also engage with new groups including Hanover (a social housing provider), BrunelCare (a care provider), Britannia Centre (a day care facility) and Deerhurst (a large care home specializing in dementia work) and work closely with policy makers and other influencers (Age UK, Bristol City Council and Bristol Ageing Better) to expand the reach of the work. The development of a new Android version of the app will decrease costs and thereby increase access to the app.
Our specific aims are:
- To co-design an engaging community focused space in 3 different settings (one existing and 2 new settings – a large care home and a day care centre) where older people and others can interact with evocative objects, sparking questions and new interests and use our StoryCreator app together to record and share their ideas, memories and stories.
- To co-design, with interactive designers Stand + Stare, a DIY blueprint for any care settings to design their own ‘Parlours of Wonder’ and to use our StoryCreator app effectively within them. This will include ideas for engaging older people in co-designing the rooms and interactive case studies with evaluations of the approaches taken across the 3 sites.
- To work alongside Alive! and care home staff to develop multigenerational community engagement activities in the Parlour settings.
- To co-design, with Alive!, a training toolkit for care staff to introduce a suite of approaches to engage residents, staff and those in the local community within the Parlours. To include ideas for sustainable staffing models.
- To further test and develop the iPad StoryCreator app and create a brand new Android version, enabling us to reach new audiences. Both versions of the app will then be made freely available on the relevant app stores.
- To co-curate an exhibition to officially launch the Parlour idea and the app with Alive! and care settings.
- To engage policy makers and influencers throughout the project in working together to identify platforms for sharing the value of the work with new local and national care networks.
We recently received this rather lovely message from someone who has been using the Tangible Memories StoryCreator app with their relative with quite advanced dementia,
‘A short email to let you know that your Story Creator app is making waves. I used it last week to stimulate memories for my Dad who is living with quite advanced dementia. When I looked through it with him he did not recognise pictures of himself although he lingered over a photo of his father. On another occasion when my sister went back through it with him there was one page that got him laughing and laughing and trying to communicate an anecdote about something funny that he got up to on his father’s boat in the 1950s. This was wonderful in many ways. Firstly, he was laughing his wonderful belly laugh, secondly he was telling my sister and my mother about an event that was new to them and thirdly it broke through my mother’s reservations about the power of reminiscence.’
We’re delighted to hear about the power of the app. Why not download it and share with your relative over the Christmas period? And do let us know how you get on.