Pam Schweitzer, MBE
A short biography
15 Camden Row, Blackheath, London SE3 0QA
Tel: 020 8852 9293
Pam Schweitzer is a writer, theatre director, trainer and lecturer. Following many years teaching and writing about Theatre in Education and Educational Drama, she became fascinated by Reminiscence and Oral History.
In 1983, she founded Age Exchange Theatre Trust and was its Artistic Director until 2005.
She has devoted the last 30 years to recording and preserving for posterity the memories of older people on key themes in the social history of the 20th century. From these recordings, she has created and directed 30 professional theatre productions, which have toured nationally and internationally. [Image left: 'Once Upon A Lifetime'].
To accompany these shows, Pam Schweitzer has co-ordinated professionally designed 3-dimensional exhibitions and produced books of edited reminiscences and photos collected during the research periods.
Pam opened the world’s first Reminiscence Centre in London in 1987, as a focus for professional training in reminiscence, a meeting place for people of all generations and cultures to participate in reminiscence projects.
She has subsequently supported the establishment of other Reminiscence Centres both in the UK and in other European countries.
In 1993, Pam founded the European Reminiscence Network with partners in 16 European countries. As Co-ordinator, she has organised several international conferences, seminars and festivals of shared work in the fields of reminiscence theatre, intercultural reminiscence work and reminiscence in dementia care. [Image above right: Memory Boxes project]
Visit ERN website: www.europeanreminiscencenetwork.org
Also in 1993, Pam founded the Good Companions older people’s theatre company and was its Artistic Director until she and the group retired in 2005 after producing 10 original productions, which played across the UK and Europe. She has since helped to set up older people’s theatre groups for ethnic elders from the Caribbean, Africa, China and India, promoting and co-ordinating their work in local, national and international festivals. [Image left: Pam positioning Joyce in a theatre production]
Pam Schweitzer has published widely on her work, contributed chapters to books on theatre and reminiscence, and written her own books and manuals on working creatively with older people.
Click here for a brief introduction to Reminiscence work [PDF file 107k].
Pam Schweitzer received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the 5th National Dementia Care Awards
The awards ceremony was held on November 11th 2014 at the 2014 UK Dementia Congress at the Hilton Hotel Metropole in Brighton.
The Judges said: "Pam was chosen because of her passion for creating fun and re-igniting love and a sense of cohesiveness for couples and individuals living with dementia. Pam has been an inspirational leader through her internationally recognised reminiscence networks, publications, training & resources."
Latest project: Remembering the Past - Building the Future 2015-17
“Remembering the Past-Building the Future” is an eighteen-month international project within the framework of the “Europe for Citizens” programme which aims to show how memory, despite its fragility, manages to preserve the past against the destructive work of time and brings along the hope for a better future.
This is a partnership project involving the European Reminiscence Network and the University of Greenwich. For further details about the project on the ERN please click here, or visit The Reminiscence Theatre Archive website at www.reminiscencetheatrearchive.org.uk/category/remembering_the_past_building_the_future
RYCT - a long running project
Since 1997, Pam has been actively involved with the European Reminiscence Network developing a reminiscence project in which families who are caring for a relative with dementia at home can participate in a series of reminiscence sessions with professional and volunteer support.
The purpose of these sessions is to engage people with dementia and their family carers together in remembering, sharing and recording their long lives.
Visit the RYCT project website: www.rememberingtogether.eu
Pam's books Reminiscence Theatre: making theatre from memories [Image right: book cover] and Remembering, Yesterday, Caring Today: reminiscence in dementia care, which was written with Errollyn Bruce, [Image left: book cover], are published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
For information and an order form for 'Remembering, Yesterday, Caring Today', please click here [PDF file 137K].
In 2000 Pam was awarded the MBE for services to Reminiscence.
Pam Schweitzer is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Humanities Department of Greenwich University.
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