Researchers from SiDE's Connected Community activity have been working with an adult mental health and learning disability development unit where many of the patients have chronic dementia. Roseberry Park hospital is a purpose built mental health facility which forms part of St Luke's Hospital in Middlesbrough. Jayne Wallace, Gavin Wood and Guy Schofield created a digital installation for reminiscence in one of the unit's "quiet rooms".
Building on dementia research in the Personhood project they have developed a digital artwork that enlivens the 'quiet room' and provides interactive reminiscence for clients living in the unit. With local furniture designers Rascal two bespoke pieces of furniture have been created (a wall cabinet and a television cabinet) which creates something akin to a living room environment; something that clients may never experience again as their dementia was such that they would most probably not be returning to their own homes on leaving the unit.
Staff in the unit furnished the room used further to supplement the installation with curtains, a lamp, leather chairs and a sofa to fully turn the room into a living room. The wall cabinet hangs just outside the ‘quiet room’ and is passed regularly by clients who spend many hours each day wandering around the ‘wander route’ corridors of the unit. The wall cabinet holds a series of seven small hand-held resin objects that encase colourful images and sculptures each relating to one of seven themes. Once placed on top of the TV cabinet inside the ‘quiet room’, each globe triggers a 13-15min film to play relating to the particular theme. The films were created with the researcher’s own footage as well as sourcing still imagery and archive footage from the Northern Film Archive and Middlesbrough Football Club. The Beamish Museum was also hugely helpful permitting filming of items from their expansive archive of objects ranging from the 1800s to present day. Drawers beneath each globe hold a mixture of objects with different tactile qualities so a client is able to have the multi-sensory experience of watching the films, listening to the soundtrack and holding the different related materials.
Through the different variety of content of the films the piece is providing clients and staff with opportunities for individual and group reminiscence, a space for calm as well as activity.
In chief collaboration with Gavin Wood and Guy Schofield. With thanks to Beamish Museum, Middlesbrough Football Club, the Northern Film Archive and RASKL design.
To learn more about our work on personal and social aspects of dementia read our participation statement (1.9MB) for the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing (CHI'11) workshop on Bridging Practices, Theories, and Technologies to Support Reminiscence.
For further information on this project: http://homepage.mac.com/wallacejayne/reminiscence%20room.html