Open Doors Support Group and Chronicle films have produced a reminiscent film for people living with Dementia in Salford.

‘Stories From A Very Different Salford’ is a collection of biographical narratives showcasing what life was like growing up in Salford during the 1940s and 1950s, before the dawn of the technological era and urban regeneration.

The short film has been nominated for the Research in Film Awards 2019


Dr Caroline Swarbrick of the University of Lancaster conducted research into various creative projects produced by the Open Doors project.

“Both Cathy Riley and I are co-investigators on the project and we set up the Open Doors Research Group back in 2014. The Research Group involves people living with dementia and their families and friends coming together to design and undertake their own project,” she said.

“From the outset, the project was always about supporting the voices of people living with dementia and their families/friends, and this has always taken centre stage. The Research Group wanted a project which focused on life in Salford, but having the opportunity to tell their stories through a creative and visual medium, rather than written stories.”

Open Doors worked collaboratively with Salford based animation company Tracks and Layers, Manchester Camerata and Chronicle Films to blend each biographical narrative into a collective journey into the history of Salford with the aim to be visually creative in order to appeal to a younger audience.

Beena Khetani of Chronicle Films helped direct and produce the project alongside members of the support group

“My involvement in the project was bringing the stories to life. The participants were given control – we went to Salford library and gathered archives, picked photographs and themes, then my role was to pull it all together.

“There was a lot of unused footage and that’s when we decided to make the animation.

“I approached my friend Michael Pettyt who had previously worked in children’s television and we worked on writing a script that would make it appealing to a primary school audience.

Each individual story was pulled together to make a linear narrative for the animation. The whole process has been quite emotional – we’ve lost people along the way. The project resulted in lovely nostalgic conversations, a lot of reminiscing and story-telling – it was an honour to be a part of.”

Salford particularly had quite a lot ripped out of it during the urban regeneration – you can hear it in people’s voices.

Jane Calvert and mother Lesley Calvert took part in the project.

“My mum attends all of the local dementia cafes in Salford and has been working on this project for around 5 years. We were invited to watch the completed film last week and I went along with mum. I believe it has been nominated for a film award in London on 11th November, it has got to the final 5.”

The support group offers information and advice to people newly diagnosed with dementia and their carers. Patients are invited to continue to meet together, build on friendships and support one another.

The group meets on the 1st Thursday of the month at the Humphrey Booth Resource Centre in Salford. The initiative aims to literally ‘open doors’ for people with dementia and their carers to support the delivery, development and innovation of dementia services within Salford.

Chronicle Films is a UK based not for profit company specialising in making personalised life story and reminiscence films and photo-films for people living with dementia.

Prior to this animation, three archive based films were created with the invaluable support of Salford Museum and Art Gallery including ‘The Regeneration of Salford’, ‘Regent Road, Salford’ and ‘Whit Walks in Salford’.

The Research in Film Awards raise the profile of films that are inspired by or are directly linked to the arts and humanities. Now in its fifth year, past RIFA winners have gone on to be nominated for other prestigious awards and festivals, or secured funding and national exposure in the media.

Judged by a panel of industry experts and leading academics, the five winners are announced at a special awards ceremony at the BFI Southbank in November. Winners receive a prestigious trophy and a £2,000 prize.

The Research in Film Awards 2019 will take place at the BFI Southbank in London on 11th November

Watch the ‘Stories From A Very Different Salford’ film on YouTube



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