Collecting stories from people living in long-term care
In collaboration with Katie Hoffman
Health Design Lab
Everybody has stories to share. These stories serve as a useful tool to reinforce the fleeting identities of people living with dementia. In partnership with Purdy Pavillion, we collected stories from people living in long-term care homes through co-design sessions, intending to help them tell their own narratives, engage them in meaningful conversations, and preserve their identity by sharing these stories with their family and staff at the care home. Over several heartwarming sessions with our co-designers, Freida and Anne-Marie, we slowly got to know them and bonded over memorable experiences. The outcome of our time with Freida and Anne-Marie is a showcase of their past experiences and personalities through a publication and poster, printed at a local press using a risograph printer. Numerous copies were provided to share and give away as they wish, so their stories live on in their friends and family.
Savory Stories is a zine that tells the stories of our co-designers Freida and Anne-Marie through food. Printed in the risograph, the book contains illustrated narrative accounts from both Freida and Anne-Marie, paired with illustrations of delicious food featured in the stories and their respective recipes. The format of the zine encourages the reader to cook according to the recipes provided and dine over the shared stories with their loved ones.
In addition to the zine, we also made posters of fun made-up advertisements representing Freida and Anne-Marie's personalities, showing them beyond the context of food. Freida's poster emphasizes her altruism and proficiency in playing the piano, while Anne-Marie's showcase her love for curling and her connection to Jasper Lodge.
We meet with our co-designers Freida and Anne-Marie over several weeks through Zoom. During our co-design sessions, we interviewed them about their past experiences, interests and daily activities. We teased out their stories by designing games and activities that prompts them to tell us about their lives. The main challenge was getting Freida and Anne-Marie to open up to us and give us longer and more detailed stories about themselves. Both of them were reserved and quiet by nature so we had to think of ways to make the storytelling easier for them. One way we did this was by storyboarding their stories in Miro. They would be given a prompt and several images to spark some memories. Afterwards, we would draw out their stories live and ask follow-up questions as we go. This was extremely successful, and we managed to collect several detailed and meaningful stories from our co-designers. Although they didn't want photos of them to be included, we managed to collect screenshots of the content.
Being new to risoprinting, we prototyped what our publication would look like. Initially an accordion format, we moved to a zine themed around food to better frame their stories more cohesively. We also involved our co-designers in the decision-making process. We presented them various illustration styles, asked them what colours they would like to use and had them approve the facts and the tone presented in the writing of their stories.