Craft + Technology Residency

Chloe Meineck - memory box 1

Chloe Meineck is a designer, maker and researcher whose work sits in between the worlds of technology, craft, design and art. For the past two years, she's been working on her Music Memory Box, which aims to help people with dementia recall key memories through association with music.

Recent research has shown that listening to familiar music can be beneficial for dementia sufferers, as music memory is retained long after other forms of memory have been lost. Linking familiar music with meaningful objects can help trigger specific memories.

Chloe’s Music Memory Box is a wooden music box, designed to resemble an old wireless radio. The box contains a number of special objects chosen by the owner that remind them of family, friends and significant events. Using a new form of technology, each object is linked to particular piece of music, which plays when it is picked up and moved across the box. 

Every box is bespoke and is co-designed with the user. Where possible, Chloe has used existing objects that already have meaning for the user - mementos they've collected throughout their lifetime. She's also worked with dementia patients to co-design new objects that represent people or a particular moment in time they want to recall.

As well as helping individuals, there is potential for the Music Memory Box to be used communally in care homes. When people with dementia move into a home they often feel lost in unfamiliar surroundings. The Music Memory Box offers a way to help them feel more comfortable, providing a link to the past.

As part of her residency, Chloe worked with groups in day centres to discuss how people might use the boxes and what they would want from them. This research helped her develop a kit version of the Music Memory Box which uses new Raspberry Pi technology to link the music to the objects. Chloe now hopes to set up a company to produce and distribute the Music Memory Box kit across the UK. Chloe has recently been awarded a residency at the Design Museum. 

The craft residency contributed to Falmouth’s research. The Falmouth-based research group Autonomatic is involved in investigating ways of bringing craft practices together with digital technologies with the aim of empowering people and developing their skills to service specific needs in their communities. The Memory Box project built on this work and used craft thinking to engage participants on designing a prototype box. 

Partners and funders

Dr Katie Bunnell supervised Chloe during her residency at Falmouth University.

Watershed’s Craft + Technology Residencies enable makers to work with technologists on cutting edge projects. The Residencies are supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, delivered in collaboration with the Crafts Council, and hosted by i-DAT within Plymouth University, the Autonomatic research group at Falmouth University, and Bristol’s internationally renowned Pervasive Media Studio.

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