‘Outstanding Dementia Care Product for Innovation’
4th National Dementia Care Awards!
I started working on Memory Bank in early 2010 and continued until I’d completed the design and build of the six final master DVDs in the series containing thirty six films in total, I also designed the covers to the DVD packs, on-disc designs and created all the illustrations throughout the printed materials (featured on this page) not to mention the functional prototyping of the DVD navigation, menu designs, slideshows and animations. As far as product design and development goes, this was a very in-depth and ultimately very successful project for me.
I’ve always seen the experience of film essentially as a dialogue: on the one hand directed by the narrative woven by the film maker but changed and shaped on the other hand by the life-experiences, personality, questioning and responses of the viewer. On both sides of this conversation then, the unconscious mind is clearly at play, in both the forming of the narrative by the film maker and in the interpretation of that narrative and response in the viewer. A whole ‘unconscious’ dialogue is happening every time we experience film.
Memory Bank was a really rewarding and wonderful project to work on, just knowing that my work would have a huge positive effect on people’s lives was a great motivational thought that gave my creativity a terrific boost on this project. I filmed a trial session led by an occupational therapist at the Penistone Dementia Café and the response was fantastic. Conversations were sparked, memories were shared, there was laughter and discussion and a real sense that everyone enjoyed the films tremendously – it was just a lovely atmosphere.
The development of Memory Bank was from my perspective quite rigorous in that I produced a number of prototype discs each with different menu designs, navigation and film drafts and each prototype was tested in care homes and dementia cafés with groups and one to one participants.
So most important in the creative process was my awareness of the emotive applications of moving image, and my work in using Carl Jung’s research in the psychology of archetypes to inform the narratives that I created for Memory Bank using ‘found footage’ – it shed light on how I could shape the films, their highs and lows, emotional nuances and narrative journeys to maximise the immersive experience for the user and hence to elicit the beginnings of the journey into their own memories, through shared experience and both conscious and unconscious visual and audio cues.
Memory Bank is experienced by the user as fun, light entertainment that throws up topics to discuss and allows opportunities for activities to be developed, but under the surface I feel the Memory Bank films constitute an extremely sophisticated psychological tool that draws on Jungian Life Stages Archetypes, Fine Art, high-end Film Making and a general celebration of human life that directly and pointedly addresses some of the symptoms of memory loss, social isolation and emotional dislocation associated with old age in our society and also dementia. It is my theory that if Archetypes are innate universal pre-conscious psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge, then stimulating an unconscious dialogue that brings these archetypes in to play can play a major part in the re-emergence and re-establishment of the individuality and personalities that are lost in dementia sufferers, if only briefly.
It makes me extremely happy to know that my films are out there doing their job and having a positive effect on the lives of those who need it most.
See more on Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/user5935896