Yorkshire Film ArchiveYorkshire Film Archive:

Memory Bank – Developing archive film footage for
dementia and reminiscence therapy

Memory Bank


To develop a model for the use of archive footage in health settings generating sustainable income for Yorkshire Film Archive and health benefits for service users.


Yorkshire Film Archive houses over 16,000 archive collections of moving image, providing a rich social history going back over 100 years. Early reminiscence work in palliative care showed promising results. Research identified that archive footage could be developed into a therapeutic tool for dementia and older people’s wellbeing.

Target audience

  • Health professional and families
  • Older people in residential and day care, dementia service users, people with memory impairment


Action research and evaluation with service users and carers.

Editing and repurposing footage

Product development

Primary and secondary research

Health and care Advisory Panel recruited


Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Regional Forum on Ageing, North Yorkshire PCT, Department of Health Dementia lead, Methodist Homes for the Aged, South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Hospital, Technology Strategy Board, National Mental Health Development Unit – Mental Health in Later Life, clinicians and gerontologists.


Literature reviews and secondary research confirm the benefits of reminiscence and memory work in this arena. We built on this and found;

  • Moving image has particular resonance with this audience
  • Accessible for all abilities – limited mobility and understanding are not barriers
  • The footage requires editing and facilitation
  • Care staff can find activities and engagement a difficult task
  • Using the footage gave family members a valuable role


This is a current project and work is on-going. So far, working with partners, film content is being edited and formatted into a range of tools that will include DVDs, multi-media platforms and online resources
and training.


Bradford University Dementia Studies Dept is working with us on evaluation. The project is still under development and we anticipate results to be published Sept 2011. Watch this space for further news!

The Memory Bank