Parlours of Wonder

In collaboration with a team from University of Bristol, Alive have been working on an exciting project called Parlours of Wonder, following the Tangible Memories: Community in Care project.

Tangible Memories and Parlours of Wonder is a collaboration between a team of researchers from the University of Bristol, local artists Stand + Stare, Alive, older people (from Care Settings across the South West) and Care Sector professionals. The goal of the Tangible Memories project was to help improve the quality of life for care home residents by building a sense of shared experience through exploration of individual life stories. 

The team received follow-on funding from Arts and Humanities Research Council to develop on this work and create community spaces known as ‘Parlours of Wonder’ within care homes. Community engagement is increasingly recognised by the care sector and social care commissioners as vital in tackling issues of social isolation in our older populations living in care. This project works to increase positive activity culture and enhance multigenerational activity within the care home. 


Parlours of Wonder - The team have worked in three care settings co-designing engaging community spaces (Parlours of Wonder) where older people can interact with evocative objects and share their memories and life histories using the Story Creator app. Each Parlour of Wonder will be different depending on the space available and the people involved in designing it – it could be a whole room or simply a pop up trolley, depending on the space available 

Story creator - The life story app called ‘Story Creator’ is a brilliant tool for care staff or family members who want an easy to use tool for life story work with an older person, and is idea to use in the Parlour. The app enables you to create pages capturing photos, text and audio clips, which can be printed, audio scanned and/or made into a book which can be kept by the older person or given as a gift to family members or friends. Download the app here 

Activities in the Parlour - Alive Presenters have been running activity sessions in the Parlours of Wonder at three care settings, who have been linked with a local primary school. These intergenerational sessions have used the resources in the Parlour to shape conversations and find themes, as well as using technology, and sharing memories and stories. 

Staff Training - Staff at each of these three care settings (Deerhurst, Blaise Weston Court and Brittania Day Centre) have also received in-house training from Alive, to enable care staff to confidently continue running meaningful activity in their Parlour beyond the life of the project. 


Click here to create your own Parlour of Wonder!