The Wayback is a virtual reality film series designed to trigger memories and spark conversations for those living with dementia, their carers and loved ones. The 360-degree films immerse the viewer in incredibly detailed, recreated, positive moments from the past – which evoke the happy feelings that went with them - in order to create positive connections and conversations in the present. Using simple technology, our ambition is to share these films with as many people living with dementia as possible, their carers and families, helping them to remain connected to the people around them and maintaining their identity.
The Wayback was created when the co-founders ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising £35k to fund the making of a pilot film, written and directed by Kevin Thomas, immersing viewers a moment millions in the UK had experienced; the street parties of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
The story so far can be viewed here;
The Wayback films were shared in care homes across England. After positive responses from carers and residents, the team entered and won the UK Challenge Dementia Prize, a £100k grant provided by Essex County Council and supported by Alzheimer’s Society and Tech UK. The Wayback has since been invited to represent the UK Creative Industries at the House of Commons and at SxSW in Austin, Texas; has been awarded nationally and internationally for best use of emerging tech; been named as ‘100 to watch in Tech by Cogx, recognised by the Design Council and D&AD and is a permanent feature in the BFI Archive.
This allowed us to produce 1966, directed by Kevin Thomas, when England won the World Cup,
We were delighted when Alzheimer’s Society supporter and 1966 England Captain, Sir Geoff Hurst, recently agreed to watch and share the new film. With teammates from the World-Cup winning squad now living with the disease, it’s a cause very close to his heart.
The images in this film are just fantastic...it will be a huge help to people reliving the past. People with dementia might not even be able to remember who their loved one is... but when they hear a piece of music or see a certain period of time, it can really jog their memory’ — Sir Geoff Hurst
The Wayback films, all directed by Kevin Thomas, are unlike any other kind of virtual reality film. Each one is the product of countless hours of research and ‘memory sessions’ with senior citizens. This groundwork ensures that every scene is filled with dozens of details that will trigger different memories and emotions for everyone old enough to have been there. For example, in our 1953 film, all of the food and drink on the street party table came from happy recollections of fish paste sandwiches, jelly and ice cream, pilchards and Mackesons Stout. Another interviewee even sang us a selection of skipping songs and these too can be heard in the film (and sung along to).
1953 - The Queens Coronation
Covering the whole day of the 1953 Queen’s Coronation, focusing on one street’s party celebra- tions recreated in 360 degree film. 9 separate epi- sodes take place in a typical 50s family house and on the street itself for party games, food and songs..
1966 - The Wold Cup Win
Our 6 immersive episodes here cover the summer days around England’s famous world cup win, recreating celebrations in a pub, a dancehall, a family home, barbershop and even a kids kick about on the street.
Residents at Langham Court watching The Wayback...