A newly published book of fictional stories, written by University of York students and inspired by the memories of York’s older residents, includes a foreword by Dame Joan Bakewell.
Making Memories was written by undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, cultures and countries, guided by an experienced creative writing tutor. Part of an exciting volunteering project, the aim was to promote intergenerational understanding.
Dame Joan Bakewell says in the foreword: “These stories capture real poignancy and authenticity. The authors have listened carefully, giving those who tell their tales both their time and, I suspect, their friendship. From there, they draw on real-life reminiscences to craft work that has its own integrity and spirit. The range is impressive.”
The project, led by the University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning and Department of Health Sciences, involved Barchester Stamford Bridge Beaumont Care Home, Barchester Mulberry Court Care Home and Auden House (York Housing Association).
Residents and students have celebrated the book in each of the homes. At Auden House, a copy of the book was put into a time capsule which is due to be buried in the foundations of the city’s Bar Walls as part of York 800 celebrations, to be uncovered in 2212 when the city celebrates 1,000 years of self-government.
One Auden House resident said: “It was lovely to talk to someone who was really interested in me. At first I wasn’t sure what to talk about, but once I got started all these memories came back. You can’t do as much when you get older, but thinking and talking about the good times always makes you smile.”
Professor Karen Spilsbury, from the Department of Health Sciences, said: “Making Memories is truly collaborative and has relied on the energy, enthusiasm and time of all participants. In particular, the project would not have been possible without the local residents who kindly agreed to meet with students and welcome them into their homes.
“The project has provided fantastic opportunities for students and local residents to come together. The stories are inspired and the book symbolises the friendships that have been formed across generations and has provided joy for all involved. We are excited by the idea of the book being unearthed in a thousand years’ time. The memories and stories will make history.”