The Music & Memory Film Project:
Documenting Music & Dementia through Film

An Applied Research Project about Neurodiversity, Creative Aging, and Ethnomusicological Filmmaking

An Applied Research Project about Neurodiversity, Creative Aging, and Ethnomusicological Filmmaking

My latest research project sits at the crossroads of applied ethnomusicology, experiential ethnography through film, and studies of neurodiversity and creative aging. Now in its second year, I have carried out this research in conjunction with service learning undergraduate courses in Maine and Indiana. In my course "Music and Memory: Studying Music and Dementia through Film," my students and I work to help make personalized iPod playlists for residents with dementia at continuing care centers, documenting these experiences through sensory approaches to filmed ethnography.

The films not only document the experiences of reconnecting individuals to the music they most love, but also document the way this research facilitates meaningful intergenerational relationships between college students and elders and their families. Our hope is that these short ethnographic films, shared here and through various public channels, can be used to help raise awareness about the transformative power of music as a vehicle for health and wellness, to de-stigmatize dementia and to advocate for the importance of initiatives that promote creative aging. We also are actively working to use these films, and a series of grants and fundraising, to encourage other facilities to adopt creative aging initiatives. In my course, we work with facilities that are certified by the nationwide Non-Profit Organization Music and Memory. For further comments and questions please contact jgubner@indiana.edu