Photographing Meaningful Occupation Project
One key part of my occupational therapy internship over the summer was working with the Scottish Dementia Working Group, @S_D_W_G. Along with my colleague Rachel @RachelstudentOT we were using images to share the importance of occupation and everyday activities to living well with dementia. However before I started I wanted to understand what I was asking the group member to do and decided to make myself the “pilot” for the project. This blog shares with you what I did.
The aim of my pilot was to participate in my own photograph project and to take pictures throughout a summers day that showed:
- What is important to me?
- What my own meaningful occupations are.
- What a day in the life of an occupational therapy intern looks like.
My plan was to take the camera with me throughout the day and take photographs of things that caught my eye, and what I deemed were my own “meaningful occupations”.
Before I started, I was inspired when I had asked some young friends the week before (aged 7 – 14years old) to do a similar thing throughout a day trip. Through their participation, I had realised how much they had enjoyed taking photographs and that there was variety to their images. They had freely taken pictures of anything and everything throughout the day, with no thought or consideration to what they photographed. I was keen to also try and capture this aspect of freedom. I wanted the photographs that I took to represent me without too much thought, consideration and caution.
I took the camera with me throughout the day and took photographs of whatever took my eye and whatever I think gave an idea and suggestion of me as a person. I felt that throughout the process I began to get more involved and I would see things and I would think about how / why they were important to me.
The result was a catalogue of 76 photographs that I distilled down into 18 photographs. These were the 18 significant photographs that I felt documented my day effectively and showed insights into me as a person. To these 18 photographs I added “my voice” and shared them on Twitter on with various hashtags (#s) such as #OTIntern #importanttome #photoproject #dayinthelife.
Throughout the Project
As the day progressed I realised that I could take pictures of anything and as I went on I realised I was looking around and finding lots of images / aspects that provoked memories and ideas that I linked with being ‘meaningful’ to me. For example; when seeing the bunch of flowers I was reminded of my first paid employment whilst I was still a teenager. This reminded me not only on my love for flowers but also love of creating beautiful arrangements for others. These trails of thought surrounded each photograph I took and as the day went along I began to take more and more pictures of things / objects that related to aspects of me that I may not have considered in a long time. I felt like in taking these photographs I was allowing myself to truly document “me” and provide images to what is my own “story”.
Through undertaking this pilot I felt that I was able to show real aspects of my life that without the camera I would never have commented on. My cups of tea / motto for the day / my home mat all show aspects of my life that I would never vocalise as important, but through photographs I was able to do this. This gave me a real insight into not only what were “meaningful occupations” to me, but that aspects which I may have considered trivial or of no importance actual hold great significance when considering my own identity.
Conducting my own photograph project was a valuable experience as it gave an insight into what we were asking members of the SDWG to be involved in. It also provided me with the confidence needed in using the camera and not being focussed on the quality of the image produced. It made me realise that through taking the photographs we were providing a way for the members of the SDWG to tell us their own story and document what was important to them.
I hope you enjoy my favourite 18 photos from my day and if you were asked
- What is important to you?
- What are your own meaningful occupations?
What photographs would you take?
“A Day in the Life of Marianne”
Thank you for reading my blog
Marianne Wallace: Occupational Therapy Intern
Marianne graduated from Aberdeen University with a Psychology degree and spent 6 years working with the National Autistic Society. After initially working as a support worker, Marianne was involved in creating and delivering a social communication program called “Transitions”. Marianne has just finished her first year of a MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre Reg) programme at Queen Margaret University and is working as an Occupational Therapy Intern with Alzheimer Scotland. As an Occupational Therapy student her desire is to contribute and be involved with other people’s journeys.