By Jodie Wilkinson
My name is Jodie and I work at Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) in the role of Public Engagement Coordinator. I really love my job as every day brings new challenges and I have the privilege of collaborating with people who are both passionate about film and the power it has to enhance people’s lives and wellbeing. Glasgow Film Theatre truly is a cinema like no other, offering a uniquely warm cinema-going experience all year round. What began as a single screen cinema over 40 years ago has become Scotland’s most diverse and best publicly attended independent cinema in Scotland, with Glasgow Film Festival one of the top three film festivals in the UK.
photos with thanks from GFT: Ingrid Mur.
Glasgow Film is a national centre for film and moving image media where audiences and filmmakers experience, debate cultural practice and ideas through diverse, unique and quality programmes that transform the way people see the world, through film.
At GFT we are inspired to lead the way in the discovery of film and moving image, creating spaces where audiences of all ages can immerse themselves in and learn about the magnificence of film. Our purpose is to share a diverse film culture with the broadest range of people possible. We want to see communities grow and develop around what we do. Cinema culture is experiencing rapid change and we find ourselves asking… What is the cinema’s role in society? What can we offer the people of Glasgow and beyond?
Our response is threefold:
GFT programmes all year-round over three screens; 100% specialised titles, first run world and independent cinema, artists’ experimental work, issue based programmes, thematic seasons, repertory programmes, Scottish produced work, festivals, and a programme of event cinema and live broadcast.
GFT provides a broad range of subtitled, captioned and audio described screenings and Enhance Audio headsets (with a choice of GFT headphones or use your own headphones) are available for any film at any time.
GFT produces high quality accessible programmes featuring; D/deaf and hard of hearing–friendly screenings which incorporate BSL interpretation and onscreen Speech-to-Text service (more information on Visible Cinema here), autism-friendly screenings led by an autistic host (more information about Access Film Club here) and most recently Movie Memories- a dementia-friendly film programme.
Why is GFT providing dementia – friendly screenings?
In a time of social austerity - endeavouring to achieve our ‘cinema for all’ ethos has never been more crucial. Within the framework of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion, we are acutely aware of our duty to provide and provoke connection, community and culture through engagement with film, for people of all ages. The driver for this particular programme was founded on the reality that 90,000 people have a diagnosis of dementia in Scotland and 10% of those people live in Glasgow. We know that tackling loneliness is a generational challenge and research has shown that many people with dementia grow to fear that they will no longer be socially welcome, and stop taking part in activities they enjoy.
‘38% of people with dementia said that they had lost friends after their diagnosis’
- Alzheimer’s Society
The formation of a dementia friendly film community with cinema culture at its heart is part of a long-term strategy as we respond to our ageing audiences and the overall ageing Scottish population. Following an equalities and diversity review, it became strikingly clear that our older audiences needed targeted creative engagement and interaction. Also, most often than not, older people become ghettoized from those of differing generations due to activities not being focused on intergenerational interaction. This creates a damaging social legacy and the largest impact means that people are less able to share skills and knowledge cross-generationally and this lack of socio-cultural experiences negatively impacts wellbeing. This is why, at GFT, we are striving to build a cross-age dementia positive community united by film.
What is the Movie Memories programme?
Our vision is to build a lifelong dementia aware community with cinema at its heart; a social space that recognises people’s needs and is a welcoming safe space to be entertained and stimulated. Within the walls of our iconic cinema home, we will provide an elevated cinema experience, harking back to a time when going to the movies was a special occasion; something to look forward to. We create monthly live events designed for people affected by dementia, this incorporates people living with dementia; their carers and families. By building a healthy and inclusive dementia friendly community we champion people’s right to interact and experience culture with people of all ages.
Funded by Life Changes Trust, Movie Memories presents;
- Classic or contemporary film screenings with an interval + live music all happening in a dementia-friendly cinema environment.
- Dementia aware staff and a team of trained volunteers (Movie Memories Ambassadors) run the event.
- People living with dementia play a central role in the programme delivery - Agnes Houston MBE is our Movie Memories Coordinator.
- Movie Memories is developed and informed by a vibrant steering group, comprising; GCVS Community Connectors, Dementia Carers Voices, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, DEEP, Glasgow’s Golden Generation, Alzheimer Scotland, North Dementia Forum and TIDE Carers network.
- Running alongside the programme we work with an academic researcher who is analysing how a dementia-friendly film programme can promote a ‘dementia positive’ community.
What can I expect at a Movie Memories event?
- A safe and welcoming environment.
- A social space, where conversation is encouraged.
- Dementia aware staff and volunteers
- All tickets are £3.
- Free refreshments and an interval with live music
How do I stay up-to-date with Movie Memories events?
For news and updates on dementia friendly screenings and events, sign up to the monthly Dementia Friendly Enewsletter: glasgowfilm.org/enewsletters. Just sign in/set up an account and select Dementia Friendly Enewsletter. If you have any problems, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
Find out what's coming up next here.
This work is supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust. The Trust is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Thank you very much for reading and I really hope we can welcome you to GFT very soon. You won’t regret it.
Public Engagement Coordinator, Glasgow Film and Festivals