Personhood Jewellery Box

boxA jewellery box housing audible memories with Jayne Wallace & Dr Karim Ladha.

Personhood in Dementia project, exploring maintenance of self-identity in dementia. Jayne worked over several years in a co-creative manner with Gillian who has Dementia and her husband John. The Jewellery box piece represents one output of the project, it exists to associate swatches cut from Gillians old dresses with sound recorded by her and her family. This work was chiefly a collaboration with digital jeweller Jayne Wallace and electronic engineer Dr Karim Ladha.

For a wider description of the Personhood in Dementia project I suggest Jayne Wallace’s writeup which discusses the wider context, methodology, stimuli and other pieces, this page will mostly focus on the Jewellery box artefact. In brief the project looked at using jewellery objects as aids to anchor events and memories and help maintain sense of self. The project and Jayne’s wider work aimed to demonstrate the potential of digital technologies designed in a gentle and atypical ways to challenge the expected norms of the digital.

dress_multi2Jayne’s conversations with Gillian & John highlighted strong memories associated with swatches of fabric cut from old dresses, leading to recollections of past holidays, music and stories. The wooden form above, is a brooch acts like a embroidery hoop, holding taut a piece of fabric, allowing Gillian to wear these dresses again. The brooch also carries a RFID ampoule tag, allowing the jewellry box to identify each brooch and record or play back sound associated with it. This allows Gillian, and her freinds and family to record these memories and perhaps anchor them in the face of memory lossIn designing this piece to act as a custodian for some of Gillians memories, any failure of data would be a great loss. Much care was taken in the design to safely and redundantly store these memories, and to make backup easy.