'Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today'
A new January 2023 Training Course and Apprenticeship Scheme in Reminiscence Arts in Dementia Care:
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an article by David Woodhead
Pam Schweitzer, MBE
A short biography
15 Camden Row, Blackheath
London SE3 0QA
Tel: 020 8852 9293
Pam Schweitzer is a writer, theatre director, trainer and lecturer. Following many years teaching and writing about Theatre in Education and Educational Drama, she became fascinated by Reminiscence and Oral History.
In 1983, she founded Age Exchange Theatre Trust and was its Artistic Director until 2005.
She has devoted the last 37 years to recording and preserving for posterity the memories of older people on key themes in the social history of the 20th century.
From these recordings, she has created and directed 30 professional theatre productions, which have toured nationally and internationally.
Image above: 'Once Upon A Lifetime'
Visit the Archive page to find out about a selection of past events, projects and conferences that Pam has been involved with:
View: Archive page
To accompany these shows, Pam Schweitzer has co-ordinated professionally designed 3-dimensional exhibitions and produced books of edited reminiscences and photos collected during the research periods.
Pam opened the world’s first Reminiscence Centre in London in 1987, as a focus for professional training in reminiscence, a meeting place for people of all generations and cultures to participate in reminiscence projects.
She has subsequently supported the establishment of other Reminiscence Centres both in the UK and in other European countries.
Performing Oral History Symposium
11th, 12th and 13th April 2022 at BathwayTheatre, University of Greenwich and online
This three-day symposium focuses on the ways in which oral testimony may be used as a source of creative endeavour, resulting in performance which can be shared with a wider audience. This event will be of interest to theatre practitioners, oral historians, academics in the worlds of Arts, Humanities and Education, Community Activists, Archivists and people exploring creative approaches to oral history with people with dementia and their carers.
Our keynote speakers, David Thacker, Pam Schweitzer and Clare Summerskill, bring with them many years of experience as writers directors and performers in this field, which they will be sharing through papers and workshops. Additional Presenters include academics and practitioners in the fields of theatre, oral history, LGBT+ work, education and creative dementia care.
Dates and Location
The afternoon of the 11 April 2022 will be delivered online. The day of the 12 April 2022 will be face-to-face at the Bathway Theatre, Bathway, Woolwich, London SE18 6QX with presentations and practical workshops. The morning of 13 April 2022 will be delivered online by partners in the European Reminiscence Network. They will share their experience of running a Europe-wide project entitled ‘Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today’ working with families living with dementia and the impact of the pandemic on their practice.
Find out more: www.gre.ac.uk/research/activity/las/oral-history-symposium
Download a PDF for further detail: Symposium leaflet
The Theatre of Memory
This 2-day European Reminiscence Network 2-day conference was held in Dublin from 2-3 May 2019.
It brought together world experts on reminscence from 15 countries. Download the flyer for information on these participants: Conference flyer
View a PDF of the conference programme in more detail: Performing Migration: Personal Stories Past and Present
Sally Knocker, Dementia Care Matters and RYCT enthusiast, wrote a review of the conference:
"What an incredible two days in Sutton, Dublin, Ireland where experts in reminiscence from 15 countries came together to share what they were doing and learn from each other. It seemed particularly timely in the context of the current rather depressing ‘Brexit limbo’ and uncertainty to truly celebrate the richness of collaboration across many European countries and beyond to Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and the USA." - read the full review:
Sally Knocker's conference review
Read comments from other participants: Conference feedback
The flyer also features a poem by Dermot Bolger, who describes how he wrote the poem for 'anyone who has witnessed a loved one's slow deterioration and watched a fiercely independent person succumb to old age, where events of sixty years ago are more real than events today'.
Open European Societies
“Open European Societies” was a conference held at the University of Greenwich from 15-17 March 2019
It was hosted by the European Reminiscence Network, the University of Greenwich and Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V., Dresden, Germany
The priorities of this “Europe for Citizens” project are: Fostering intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding and combating the stigmatisation of migrants during the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018-19 and beyond.
Through the research undertaken by each of 11 European partners from 8 different countries, the "OPEN EUROPEAN SOCIETIES” project aims to raise awareness of the migration history of Europe, highlighting the diversity and co-existence of different nations and cultures in the countries of Europe. We hope to show that migration has brought many positive effects to the European cities in which our project partners live and work.
Find out more: Conference flyer | Project description
Remembering the Past - Building the Future
“Remembering the Past-Building the Future” was an eighteen-month international project within the framework of the “Europe for Citizens” programme which aims to show how memory, despite its fragility, manages to preserve the past against the destructive work of time and brings along the hope for a better future.
This is a partnership project involving the European Reminiscence Network and the University of Greenwich. For further details about the project on the ERN please click here, or visit The Reminiscence Theatre Archive website at https://www.reminiscencetheatrearchive.org.uk/content/category/current-work/2015_-_2017
In 1993, Pam founded the European Reminiscence Network with partners in 16 European countries. As Co-ordinator, she has organised several international conferences, seminars and festivals of shared work in the fields of reminiscence theatre, intercultural reminiscence work and reminiscence in dementia care.
Image left: Memory Boxes project logo
Visit ERN website: www.europeanreminiscencenetwork.org
Also in 1993, Pam founded the Good Companions older people’s theatre company and was its Artistic Director until she and the group retired in 2005 after producing 10 original productions, which played across the UK and Europe. She has since helped to set up older people’s theatre groups for ethnic elders from the Caribbean, Africa, China and India, promoting and co-ordinating their work in local, national and international festivals. [Image left: Pam positioning Joyce in a theatre production]
Pam Schweitzer has published widely on her work, contributed chapters to books on theatre and reminiscence, and written her own books and manuals on working creatively with older people.
Click here for a brief introduction to Reminiscence work [PDF file 107k].
RYCT - a long running project
Since 1997, Pam has been actively involved with the European Reminiscence Network developing a reminiscence project in which families who are caring for a relative with dementia at home can participate in a series of reminiscence sessions with professional and volunteer support.
The purpose of these sessions is to engage people with dementia and their family carers together in remembering, sharing and recording their long lives.
Visit the RYCT project website: www.rememberingyesterdaycaringtoday.com
Pam's books Reminiscence Theatre: making theatre from memories [Image right: book cover] and Remembering, Yesterday, Caring Today: reminiscence in dementia care, which was written with Errollyn Bruce, [Image left: book cover], are published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Click here to visit the publisher's website.
For information and an order form for 'Remembering, Yesterday, Caring Today', please click here [PDF file 137K].
In 2000 Pam was awarded the MBE for services to Reminiscence.
Pam Schweitzer is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Humanities Department of Greenwich University.
Website © Pam Schweitzer 2019 | Design by www.liquidjigsaw.com