Parlours of Wonder

Creating exciting community spaces in care settings

The Parlours of Wonder project (which has now come to a close), was 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 team created community spaces known as ‘Parlours of Wonder’ within care homes thanks to generous funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 


The project worked by:

Creating Parlours of Wonder - the team worked in three care settings co-designing engaging community spaces (Parlours of Wonder) where older people can interact with evocative objects, share their memories and record their life histories using the Story Creator app. Each Parlour of Wonder is 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.

Using the Story Creator app - the life story app called ‘Story Creator’ is a brilliant tool for care staff or family members who care for an older person and is ideal 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 

Running activities in the parlour - Alive facilitators ran activity sessions in the parlours of the three care settings involved in the project, all of whom we have linked with a local primary school. These intergenerational sessions used the resources in the parlour to shape conversations and follow themes, as well as using technology to record and share memories. 

Staff training - staff at each of these three care settings involved in the project (Deerhurst, Blaise Weston Court and Brittania Day Centre) have 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. 


We have created free downloadable resources to help you set a creative space for older people in your care setting. 


click here to create your own parlour of wonder!