Portals to the World: resources for adults with dementia and their care partners

Join us as we explore five species with Museum staff and Department of Zoology researchers, then have a go at a different art activity inspired by the featured animals.

These videos and resources have been created in partnership with Dementia Compass, for adults with dementia and their care partners in mind. While they were initially created for participants of our Portals to the World course, we hope that they may be used by you at home too.

How to use these resources:

We recommend that you explore a different topic together each week or leaving time in between each activity. The video talks are delivered in an easy to follow style, and can be watched with or without subtitles and in fullscreen:

Example of video screen with subtitle and full screen buttons highlighted

As highlighted by the blue and orange circles here; you can select the [cc] button to turn subtitles on/off and the [ ] frame button to turn full screen on/off.

Handout

Preview of handout to accompany large blue butterfly video

The handouts provided will guide you through the talk with related images and examples. They can be especially helpful to those who find screens difficult to watch. These can be downloaded by clicking on the nearby DOWNLOAD button and either viewed on a screen, or printed, depending on what works for you.

Give it a go and you may find that you come to like the weird and wonderful creatures featured here.

Have some questions or would like assistance in using these resources? Dementia Compass are on hand to help. Get in touch by email here: hello@dementiacompass.com

Contents:

Click the subject titles below to skip to topic or continue to scroll to see the topics one after another.


Tasmanian devil with Jack Ashby

From the comfort of your own home, join Jack Ashby and Sara Steele as they highlight Jack’s research and conservation efforts on the island of Tasmania. You’ll hear about Jack’s research and work to support the declining numbers of Tasmanian devils and the challenges they face.

Handout

Preview of handout to accompany tasmanian devil video

View and download the handout via the red DOWNLOAD button below. This will open in a new window.

Watch Jack’s talk below:

Charcoal drawing with Nathan Huxtable

Nathan Huxtable from the Fitzwilliam Museum gives us a short tutorial on how to create a Tasmanian devil using charcoal.

You will need:

Tasmanian devil silhouette template for art activity
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Charcoal
  • Putty rubber
  • Tasmanian devil template. Download below and print to use.
  • Optional: Red Conté – crayon made of a mixture of charcoal and coloured wax

Top tip: It is possible to slow down the speed of these videos using the settings icon (the cog) and selecting ‘playback speed’ and then 0.75 or 0.5. Useful for when Nathan shows us the making techniques.


Large blue butterfly with Matt Hayes

Grab a cup of tea and join Matt Hayes and Sara Steele as they highlight Matt’s work with the Museum of Zoology’s historical insect collection. You’ll hear about Matt’s favourite butterfly species and its amazing lifecycle. Afterwards, discover the inspired art making tutorial by Nathan Huxtable from the Fitzwilliam Museum, by scrolling further down this page.

Handout

Preview of handout to accompany large blue butterfly video

View and download the handout via the red DOWNLOAD button below. This will open in a new window.

Watch Matt’s talk below:

Oil pastel drawing with Nathan Huxtable

Nathan Huxtable from the Fitzwilliam Museum gives us a short tutorial on how to create a large blue butterfly using oil pastels.

Butterfly silhouette template for art activity

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Oil pastels
  • Butterfly template. Download below and print to use.

Mute Swan with Tiff Ki

In this video join Tiff Ki and Sara Steele as they highlight Tiff’s work with UK mute swan populations. You’ll hear how research is helping scientists to understand the reasons for UK bird population changes.

Handout

Preview of handout to accompany mute swan video

View and download the handout via the red DOWNLOAD button below. This will open in a new window.

Watch Tiff’s talk below:

Watercolour painting with Nathan Huxtable

Nathan Huxtable from the Fitzwilliam Museum gives us a short tutorial on how to create a swan on water using masking fluid and paint.

You will need:

Mute swan silhouette template for art activity
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Masking fluid
  • Watercolour or gouache paints
  • Swan template. Download below and print to use.

We’d love to see the artworks you produce. Share them with us via email at umzc@zoo.cam.ac.uk or on social media, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by tagging us.


Echinoderms with Giacomo Gattoni

For our fourth talk, join Giacomo Gattoni and Sara Steele as they highlight an animal with a strange body plan. You’ll hear why Giacomo is so excited by a group of animals called echinoderms and how studying them can help with understanding both evolution and conservation.

Handout

Preview of handout to accompany echinoderm video

View and download the handout via the red DOWNLOAD button below. This will open in a new window.

Watch Giacomo’s talk below:

Gouache paints and bubble wrap printing with Nathan Huxtable

Nathan Huxtable from the Fitzwilliam Museum gives us a short tutorial on how to create a starfish using bubble wrap and paint.

Star fish silhouette template for art activity

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Paints (gouache, acrylic or craft)
  • Bubble wrap (recycled will do)
  • Starfish template. Download below and print to use.

Desert locust with Darron Cullen

Desert locust on a reed

Our final talk of this series comes from Darron Cullen. Join Darron and Sara Steele as they discuss a species of animal with that has been resident in the Department of Zoology for a century. You’ll hear about a curious colour change seen in desert locusts when they swarm and about the research questions they are helping scientists to answer.

This talk was produced as a bonus interview and so does not have an accompanying handout or activity.

Watch Darron’s talk below:


Dementia Compass logo - depicting a compass centred within a 'c' and 'd'

The Portals to the World programme is created through a partnership between the University of Cambridge Museums and Dementia Compass

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