05-05-2021

Spotlight on the Nominees: The Dementia Film Project (Outstanding Public Engagement Project)

As the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging’s 2021 Public Engagement Awards draw closer, we shine a spotlight on each of the nominees to celebrate their contribution to another year of outstanding public engagement at the Centre.

With over 50 million people affected by dementia worldwide, it’s no wonder that dementia has a growing presence in the media. However, film portrayals of dementia are often lacking in depth or accuracy. Kronos: The Dementia Film project aims to challenge these shallow portrayals by creating a dramatic feature film exploring self-awareness in dementia, informed by people living with the condition and their families.

Kronos

The project, which has been nominated for Outstanding Public Engagement Project at the Centre’s upcoming Public Engagement Awards, is a collaboration between the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and Dura Films, along with charity partners.

The team ran a series of focus groups with people with dementia and their carers.  During these discussions, the groups helped shape the new project which launches this month, successfully gaining funding through the UCL Knowledge Exchange Fund.

Altered self-awareness is a core part of the progression of dementia. Traditionally, however, this aspect of the condition has been neglected both in dementia research and media portrayals, which instead centre memory loss. The project team hope to use the project to address this gap in scientific research by developing tools to objectively relate changes in self-awareness to changes in brain function.

The final product will be a fictional dramatic film, with an estimated release date of 2023. The team hope that the film will have a significant and international societal impact, facilitating open and honest discussion of self-awareness in dementia and encouraging more work which showcases dementia from media partners.

Ultimately, the project brings together scientific research and media production to address complex and sensitive questions about how dementia affects people: What does it mean to be human? And who are we when our self-awareness begins to fade?

The Kronos team is made up of:

  • Stephen Fleming: Scientific Advisor
  • Jonathan Huntley: Scientific Advisor
  • Ed Christmas: Director/Producer
  • Will Robinson: Producer
  • Cassie Hugill: Public Engagement Manager
  • Joanne Thomas: Public Engagement Officer

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