On Valentine's Day Barney, Lucy, Alison and myself attended the Parlours of Wonder event at the University of Bristol's Graduate School of Education.
The aim of the workshop was to bring together a collective of people from organisations such as ALIVE!, RSVP, Wyldewood, Deerhurst Home and many more to share their extensive knowledge and experience in care settings. The Tangible Memories team invited them to consider innovative approaches into intergenerational activities, staff training techniques and most importantly to establish and build allegiances between the organisations for joint work in the present and future.
Helen Manchester introduced the session with, 'In light of increasing pressure on social care budgets and the difficulties many care settings are facing in regard to funding activities on reduced budgets we want to explore creative approaches to delivery, possible routes to funding and working with volunteers. In addition, we would like to pool and share resources and discuss methods and ways of working with objects and technologies, as well as ideas for planning intergenerational activities.'
The morning began with an activity in which different people had the opportunity to talk about the different methods of working. These were split up on tables and people were encouraged to move between the table sharing views and expertise. The tables were:
- Intergenerational work
I was note-taking, recording and taking pictures on the Tangible Memories App and so was moving about the room, listening too and recording conversations. On the objects table, Gill from ALIVE! was explaining the importance of physical objects to encourage the older people to reminisce and engage in conversation about history, music, work and more.
At the interfaces table Annie was explaining how interfaces could help older people who are moving into a care home for the first time. A soft blanket or a cushion made from an old curtain could have a memory attached to it and when pressed be played back. Similarly, interfaces could be placed behind a map on a wall and memories attached to different locations to be played back when pressed. These different examples could ease the transition process whilst creating a nice memento.
The morning continued with challenges to sustainability and possible solutions. It was interesting to hear that whilst there were some obvious challenges the group managed to come together to offer constructive feedback and solutions. The involvement of families and volunteers was an important factor to the sustainability of the project. Families like to be involved with the activities and getting their opinions will be an invaluable asset to the process.
The morning concluded with a discussion as to how we will all work together in the future. I found it important that everyone was in the same room, sharing their stories and experiences. For a sector that has had significant funding cuts it was fantastic to hear the support for each other and amount of work that was going into bettering the older generation's lives.
Using the Tangible Memories app to document the day was very useful and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the different people at the event. I look forward to the next one!
Hannah - Stand+Stare Intern