Sunday, August 18, 2019
Home TICE Creative Areas Creative Writing Spreading the word about dementia-friendly screenings at Tyneside Cinema

Spreading the word about dementia-friendly screenings at Tyneside Cinema

By Katherine Wildman, writing mentor

‘Fill your beautiful boots,’ Jenny said. And so, I did, which is how I come to be writing this. My Create Stage Blog. With a wry smile. Because how on earth did that happen? The stars seemed to align, that’s how, and so it came to pass that 17 students from Berwick Academy and George Stephenson High School, created a marketing campaign to a live brief from Laura Rothwell and the team at Crystallised.

The students’ marketing campaign combined video scripts, leaflets, press releases, Crowd Funder pages, and an exploration into how we might put the technology of the future to great use. All with strict word counts and all within three days.

And the campaign’s purpose? To promote the dementia-friendly cinema screenings at the Tyneside Cinema. To tell more people about the fact that every month, people who are living with dementia and their families, friends and carers are welcomed to enjoy classic films in the elegant Classic theatre.

This year’s Create Stage began at Tyneside Cinema, our generous host for the first two days. We welcomed Anthony and Anneliese from Baltic who gave us information about becoming Dementia Friends with an engaging and warm presentation about dementia and the impact it can have on people’s lives.

We learned that:

    1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
    2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
    3. It’s not just about losing your memory
    4. People can still live well with dementia
    5. A person is more than their diagnosis

“Anthony and Anneliese started off the session by emphasising that dementia is a thing that is consistently viewed in a negative light when actually we should think more positively and support people who are living with it. This was a very strong message as I don’t think anyone before the session viewed it from that perspective. Overall the session was very educational and interesting, and I personally would encourage others to take the session and learn the truth about dementia.” Richard Gardner, George Stephenson High School

“On the first day, we went to Tyneside Cinema. And met these two, lovely people from the Baltic who talked to us about dementia friends and what dementia is we learned about how it affects not only the person living with dementia but also the people around them.” Nicole Fuller, George Stephenson High School

Pledges signed, and Dementia Friends badges received, the students then welcomed Andrew Newman from Newcastle University. Andrew is the University’s Professor of Cultural Gerontology, and he gave an insightful presentation, which focused on the capabilities of those living with dementia. He talked about the role cultural activity has to play in ageing well, drawing on some of the research he has conducted via arts-based projects.

After lunch, Laura Rothwell, Founder and Managing Director of arts and heritage marketing agency, Crystallised spoke to the students. She revealed how she came to a career in marketing and what it’s like to work with organisations with a social conscience that make a social difference.

Then, in her role as Consulting Director of Marketing and Communications at Tyneside Cinema, Laura set the students their brief to start spreading the word about the cinema’s dementia-friendly cinema screenings.

Her project was part of our exploration of the Humans taking back control trend.


Creative writing project briefs 2019:


TICE CREATE Stage: Creative Writing – copywriting and marketing
Title: Spread the word | Humans taking back control #comeandsee
Project Outline: You’ll develop a marketing campaign to let more people who are living with dementia and their carers know about the Dementia Friendly Cinema screening programme at Tyneside Cinema

Working to a live brief, set by Crystallised founder Laura Rothwell you’ll learn about Tyneside Cinema and about the Dementia Friendly Cinema screening programme it offers.

You’ll also hear from signage and wayfinding expert Sarah Phillips about how dementia can affect a person’s experience of a building like Tyneside Cinema.

You’ll explore the history of the cinema, find stories to tell about the space and work with Laura, Katherine and Angela to create a marketing campaign about the screening programme that will spread the word to new people who are living with dementia and their families and carers who would enjoy coming to the cinema.

Then we met Sarah Phillips, Director of Picto, a specialist signage and wayfinding company. Sarah introduced the students to wayfinding and her experiences working on the Haven Court project, a dementia-specific facility in South Tyneside, where she applied the Studio LR dementia signage system.

In the second part of her presentation, Sarah explained how she’d completed the DSDC Intersection of Dementia + Design Course at RIBA in London and what she’d learnt about wayfinding for people living with dementia as a result.

The students then explored the Grade II listed cinema building, assessing different areas including the entrance and foyer, toilets, cafe and wayfinding within Tyneside Cinema.

Participants were split into four groups and equipped with worksheets, recommendations from the DSDC, a camera and tape measures. They were asked to review each aspect and assess whether they were dementia-friendly and to make suggestions for areas that could be improved. Supported by Sarah, the students’ results will be collated and passed onto the Cinema Board as part of the live brief.

Project results: please view the final results of the students’ work – Spread the word Final Project.

Credit: Lauren Birtles, Kirstin Blake, Saskia Morton, Amanda Smith and Emily Swinney from Berwick Academy. Becca Richardson, Richard Gardner and Callum Thomas from George Stephenson High School.


TICE CREATE Stage: Creative Writing – scriptwriting
Title: We work, we learn | Brands as buddies #StartingConversations
Project Outline: You’ll work with a videographer and make a film to let more people who are living with dementia and their carers know about the Dementia Friendly Cinema screening programme and the use of immersive tech to promote increased accessibility at Tyneside Cinema.

You’ll work with videographer Alex Wright to create a film about the screening programme and the work that the other groups are doing to spread the word to new people who are living with dementia and their families and carers who would enjoy coming to screenings.

On day two, we met immersive technology specialist, Dave Black, from Pitch Black Productions. Based at PROTO in Gateshead, Dave introduced the students to the magic of multisensory, immersive experiences, including his work with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Dave’s work was integral to one of the student’s set projects which aimed to explore the trends of Brands as Buddies and multisensory storytelling.

Project results: please view the final results of the students’ work – We work, we learn Final Project.

Credit: Rebecca Adelson, Emily Cruickshanks, Elise Cowe, Carly Hindhaugh, Kaitlyn Mather and Rhiannon Pringle from Berwick Academy. Nicole Fuller and Ethan Kellacher-Douglas from George Stephenson High School.


TICE CREATE Stage: Creative Writing – feature writing
Title: Experience is for everyone | Brands as buddies #walkwithme
Project Outline: Can technology help people living with dementia and their families and friends to experience Tyneside Cinema?

You’ll be exploring the history of the cinema, finding stories to tell about the space and working with Sarah Phillips to think in terms of 3D spaces and with Dave Black to think about what information you need to gather to create an immersive, engaging and ultimately helpful guide to the cinema – from the city it’s in and the spaces it offers, to the people they might meet and the experiences they could enjoy.

Students were given an opportunity to use VR headsets and asked to start imagining how the technology could help people living with dementia and their families and friends to experience the Tyneside Cinema.

Next on the agenda was a heritage tour of the cinema. Students watched a newsreel and were shown the Classic Cinema where the dementia screenings take place.

And then, after lunch, it was time for tea. And cakes. And strawberries. With Alex and Cynthia and their carers Janice and Lauren. The students hosted a tea party in the cinema for two of the people living with dementia who enjoy the screenings. The students wanted to find out what the screenings mean to cinema-goers, why they enjoy coming to the cinema and what else might be done to improve the experience.

Project results: please view the final results of the student’s work – Experience is for everyone Final Project.

Credit: Isaac Smith from George Stephenson High School.


Rebecca from Berwick Academy learned that Alex, who is living with dementia, said, “I enjoy going to Tyneside Cinema over other cinemas because it’s friendly, relaxed, quieter, and it makes me remember the days I used to go as a kid.”

Callum Thomas from George Stephenson High School, wrote, “Throughout the Create Stage, we have learnt all about dementia and dementia-friendly cinema screenings. On day one we had a talk about dementia and played games which taught us all about it. Then we had a talk about signage and how that can affect people’s interpretation of different things. On day two, we had a talk about technology such as AR and VR, and then we had a heritage tour of the Tyneside cinema before going to speak with people who are living with dementia.

On day three, it was time to take each of the three briefs and write up all our learnings. Using an IT suite in the Media Department at Northumbria University, the students were supported by Hannah Moth from Crystallised, branding specialist Angela Lynch and MA student Sharon Thomas to create one of the following outputs in just six hours:

• A press release
• A leaflet
• A Crowd Funder page
• A 450+ word long-form article
• A 90-second script

“The TICE trip has been a great experience for us. We have learned much more about the creative writing industry. We were taught about the effects of dementia, how those living with dementia can be helped, and what we can do as a community to help people with dementia.

We found the information very helpful throughout our projects on the last day of the Create Stage. There has been a great mix of fun and getting hard work done, and we didn’t feel as if there was a single moment that we were not having a good time. We liked learning about the signs.” Rhiannon Pringle and Lauren Birtles, Berwick Academy

“I learnt that people with dementia are just like every other person, just because they may not remember what they did the day before, doesn’t mean that they are any different or should be treated in any different to me and you. Alex had memories from when he was younger and what jobs he was doing when he was in his twenties.” Callum Thomas, George Stephenson High School

The students’ work is now being collated to create a Crowd Funder page and press release, which will support the funding of the dementia-friendly screenings at the Tyneside Cinema.

Creative Writing Create Stage Gallery 2019: