Touching images show life with dementia

Creative project between Edinburgh Napier and Eric Liddell Centre shines spotlight on living with condition

Date posted

14 December 2017

09:32

Last updated

14 March 2018

Touching images that document the everyday life of people living with dementia have been unveiled as part of a creative project between Edinburgh Napier University and an Edinburgh care charity. 

Students from Edinburgh Napier’s Photography, TV and Music courses have been working with older people affected by dementia and their carers who attend the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh for support.

The students have worked with the charity for eight weeks to lead activities with people affected by dementia and to document some of the stories of those being supported by the charity through their own dementia diagnosis. 

Photography students Katariina Leinonen and Theodor Asoltanei spent time with couple Andy and Sheila Biggar who attend the centre’s Lunch Break service on a weekly-basis. The service provides support and enrichment activities for people with dementia and their carer.

Alongside photo handling and speaking about the memories that are sparked by the discussion of photographs, the students documented the couple’s visit to the centre with a series of moving images. 

The photographs highlight the loving bond between the couple, along with the range of activities they take part in together during their time visiting the centre.

The photographs went on display this week (Wednesday 13 December) within the centre itself, along with a film made by Edinburgh Napier TV students John Smith, Shannon McCann, Ethan Brown and Ruaraidh McKay. 

The film documents the day in the life of an older woman affected by dementia who attends the charity for activities, nutritious lunches, friendship and support. It features reflections from the person on the service she receives and its benefits.

The short video also features the music of student Chloe-Rose Hughes who, along with her fellow student Fraser Greenwood, has been visiting the centre to lead music therapy sessions with day care clients. 

Chloe – who has been playing the piano since she was 7 years-old and who wants to pursue a career in music therapy once her studies are complete – has regularly led sing-along sessions at the centre alongside other volunteering duties. 

Her time with the charity has also fed into her studies as she completes her dissertation on music therapy as part of her final year with the University. 

The inter-disciplinary project is one of a number of similar projects that have been organised by Edinburgh Napier’s School of Arts and Creative Industries with a view to its students gaining valuable experience as part of their studies alongside giving something back to the wider community.

Andy and Sheila

The Eric Liddell Centre project was delivered under the guidance of Lindsay Morgan, placement co-ordinator for the University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries, Kirsten Macleod, lecturer in TV, Katrina Burton, lecturer in Music and Mary-Ann Kennedy, lecturer in Photography.  

Lindsay Morgan, placement co-ordinator for Edinburgh Napier’s School of Arts and Creative Industries, said: “It has been so rewarding working with the Eric Liddell Centre to support all of these work-related learning opportunities. All the students involved are very talented and have used their skills to create wonderful outcomes whilst also making the process enjoyable for everyone. In the School of Arts & Creative Industries, we value community engagement and I hope to be able to support many more interdisciplinary projects with such wonderful results.”

Lee Deane, development manager at and the Eric Liddell Centre, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide practical learning experiences for the students at Edinburgh Napier. The projects involving our attendees of both Lunch Breaks and Day Care have added a new dimension to our existing enrichment activities. We all enjoy the fresh and vibrant energy that the students bring with them into the centre.”

Alongside its Lunch Break service, the Eric Liddell Centre also provides a person-centred day care service to people with a diagnosis of dementia with a view to reducing social isolation, promoting independence, providing a structure to their week alongside providing regular respite for their carers. 

For more information on the centre, please visit here.

Watch the video here: