Researchers in the School of HASS contribute their expertise to a diverse range of projects that demonstrate UNE’s commitment to engagement with community and external partners. Dr Fincina Hopgood, Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies in the Discipline of Media and Communications, shares one such project here.

I have been working on the collaborative project Building a Dementia Friendly Screen Culture in Australia led by Dr Jodi Brooks, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and a member of the Arts and Health Research Group at UNSW. Australia lags behind other countries in creating a dementia-friendly screen culture. As a film-based intervention in dementia care and an accessibility-based intervention in Australian screen culture, this research project explores how Australian screen culture can better embrace the value of cinema-going and cinema-like experiences as familiar and sensory-rich forms of social experience for people living with dementia.

Together with screen culture specialist Karina Libbey, Jodi and I have been working with the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) in Canberra, Dementia Australia and Carers ACT to develop and co-design dementia-friendly film screenings. The project team organised the ACT’s first dementia-friendly screening event in October 2022: a Saturday morning matinee of the First Nations musical The Sapphires at the NFSA’s Arc Cinema. This pilot event was developed in collaboration with stakeholders to ensure it catered to the needs of the dementia community, and it received funding support from the ACT Government. People living with dementia, their families and carers who attended the screening provided positive feedback and the project has been warmly received by the dementia community in Canberra. Our pilot event features as a case study in the NFSA’s Disability and Inclusion Action Plan 2024-27.

Building on the success of the pilot, the project team recently secured funding from the ACT Government via a competitive tender application process for a series of 9 dementia-friendly film screenings across 2024-26 at the NFSA. We will work with the community in Canberra to establish a film society led by people living with dementia to support their involvement in the programming and planning of these screenings and their participation in screen culture more broadly. By creating and sharing resources for dementia-friendly screenings in Australian cinemas and non-theatrical settings, this project aims to support communities, dementia advocates, and local cinemas and other venues looking to offer dementia-friendly film events.

It has been a rewarding journey to contribute my research expertise in screen studies in a community context and to collaborate with Jodi and Karina in developing this project. Fundamentally, our project is about making cinema more accessible and inclusive, so we can all share in the joy of going to the movies.

If you would like to know more about this collaborative project led by UNSW, email