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Can Participatory Video (PV) enhance social participation and well-being for people with dementia in residential social care?


Participatory Video is an approach to film-making which has been developed specifically with a view to the empowerment of people who are socially-marginalised and whose voices are unheard.

Used to date predominantly in community development and with the socially disadvantaged, this will be the first research study to trial PV with people who have dementia.

Research team leader

The research is led by Dr Andrea Capstick at The University of Bradford.

Research team members

Dr John Chatwin, University of Salford
Dr Katherine Ludwin, University of Bradford

Start and end date

October 2012 - April 2014 (extended to December 2014 with Value Added funding awarded September 2014)


National Institute for Health Research – School for Social Care Research.


The aim of this study was to discover whether involvement in a PV group increases social participation and well-being for people with dementia.


Pre, mid and post-intervention repeated measures design.


Participation in six, one-hour PV sessions.


13 people with dementia living in long-term, residential social care; 11 women and two men; age range 76-99 years. Three participants were assessed to have capacity to consent for themselves to taking part in the study.

For the remaining seven participants, personal or nominated consultees were appointed, all of whom were of the view that the person in question would have wished to take part at a time when s/he had capacity to give an informed decision.


Quantitative data: Structured observation of occupational diversity using the Behaviour Category Coding frame from Dementia Care Mapping. Structured observation of well-being using the Bradford Well-being profile.

Qualitative data: Unstructured ethnographic observation and film analysis; focus groups with staff, family members and volunteers; key informant interviews.


Download the Research Findings ReportParticipatory Video and Dementia Findings

Ten short films were completed using one-to-one co-production techniques between a researchers and each participant. The films ranged in length from 4 to 12 minutes. Two of the 13 participants died after preliminary work had been undertaken but before the active intervention began. One participant proved to have a contested diagnosis and work did not proceed with that person.

The findings demonstrate that PV can be adapted for use with this client group. Although some adaptations needed to be made, these were to the technical aspects of film-making not the participatory principles of PV. Participants were able, in all cases, to choose the content of the films themselves. All chose a personal life history narrative format, and a life stage between around 5 and 30 years. This is consistent with previous findings related to autobiographical memory, and the ‘reminiscence bump’ in dementia (eg Thomsen and Berntsen 2008). A specific place or locality featured heavily in all films. As also found by Chaudhury (2008) participants’ stories were grounded in geographical space. Use of archive images was important in order to reflect participants’ place memories accurately. Participants’ voices were included in the films as a soundtrack.

Observed impact on well-being was significant (p=<0.05). Occupational diversity was enhanced as a result of the study. For all participants, actual level of social participation at baseline was considerably less than potential for social participation observed during the study. To establish whether there was any added value from participatory film-making by comparison with other psychosocial interventions, we observed participants watching their own films after the active intervention stage and found that sings of positive well-being were maintained.

Concluding screening events and focus group discussions identified a range of potential uses for PV in long-term social care, including: viewing of own and each other’s films as an ongoing activity; inclusion of films in life history records; new staff induction, and intergenerational education.

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