empowering people living with dementia and their communities through the arts

With increasing evidence of the benefits of artistic creativity for people living with dementia neurologically, socially and emotionally, Ellie Robinson-Carter designed this project as part of her research on MA Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth University 2014-16.

Ellie has since delivered The Photobook Project to various groups around the world including in the Netherlands, Japan and across the UK. See the Projects page to see all 11 collections created so far. 

The Photobook Project invites people living with dementia and intergenerational groups to document their own or shared experiences through the use of a single-use camera. The individuals select themes under which to document. These could be anything from a particular colour, a season or significant objects. 

Once completed, the cameras are sent back to Ellie, who places the images in The Photobook Project template - keeping the images in the order they are taken. Each book states the theme, the artist and includes a map in the right-hand corner which locates where the images have been taken. 

The artists are also invited to take part in creative activity which links to the theme. For example, ‘light and shadow’ might prompt the use of cyanotypes to create images. These extra works of art are then captured in the centre of the A5 photobook, in a smaller A6 book.

Participants are gifted a book of their choice from their collection. This provides self-evidence of living well with dementia, increasing self-confidence, feelings of connectivity and ownership.

Each collection is housed in a bespoke box designed by Juniper Bespoke and made by the Wyvern Bindery, kept somewhere important in the groups’ particular community. For example, care homes, community centres and libraries. Another box is kept as part of The Photobook Project archive, currently located in Plymouth (UK).