The days were made up of a mixture of talks and workshops demonstrating the work The Dukes had been doing between artists and curators and those living with dementia. The talks were fantastic for gaining an insight into carers experiences and also to give an idea of reasoning for particular behaviours or experiences that certain types of dementia may result in through a fantastic presentation given by Seb Crutch from Created Out of Mind (who have more recently made a short film to try and give a first person experience).

Many new connections were made as a result of attending the event including meeting Storm Patterson (Curation, Outreach and Education for London’s Screen Archives) from Film London, the Community Engagement Manager for Strand Arts Centre in Belfast, Development Manager for CAP Arts Centre in Belfast, Project Manager for Yorkshire Dance and Theatre and Dementia Research Associate from West Yorkshire Playhouse. I also caught up with Gil Graystone who manages the A Life More Ordinary project.

Main inspirations came from the new connections made. For example, how we may be able to use archive film to encourage reminiscence and discussion and more widely when speaking with the Community Engagement Manager for Strand Arts Centre learning that they were very successful with family films. They are a very family orientated venue, family run with staff members that have young families. The main inspiration I took from the entire event is that involvement of people living with dementia (or indeed whichever audience we may be trying to attract) to inform and advise on our venue and programme is crucial. We can then stress-test our venue and increase and encourage awareness that those with dementia are still very much valued and needed members of the community.

To go forward I would like (or strongly encourage Ludlow Assembly Rooms) to set up a focus group made up of those living with dementia and carers. They will become a vital part of programming for and developing that audience. It will also help with Ludlow Assembly Room’s place in the community that welcomes and delivers for all parts of the community and does so successfully. Attending the event reinvigorated this idea and reinforced the importance of it.

Olivia received a bursary award from Film Hub Midlands.

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