Michelle Royce

"Holding the Story" Digital Storytelling for Happiness, Resilience and Inclusivity.


Michelle Royce is an Author and Storyteller who has worked in various roles at Sawtell Catholic Care of the Aged for over 10 years. Through attending an Arts in Health Conference in 2014, Michelle was motivated to bring her storytelling skills and talents together with her work in aged care. The result is 'Holding the Story'- an arts/health initiative Michelle has created and managed since 2015. "Holding the Story" is designed to foster happiness, resilience and well being, build inclusive communities, create positive social change and to challenge the myths and stereotypes around ageing and people living with dementia. 


This presentation aims to show the positive potential impacts of Storytelling (specifically Digital Storytelling) for people with dementia both in a personal sense and as a tool for creating empathy and changing perceptions.‘Holding the Story’ explores the positive therapeutic and social outcomes as well as the magic and power of Storytelling as a co- creative journey. All of us hold our own ‘story of self’ within us, weaving the identity that we wear in the world. But when age and illness unravel the identity and there is no-one to bear witness to our story of self, we become invisible, voiceless and isolated, leading to loneliness, depression, and a decline in health. People living with dementia and their carers are particularly at risk of this ‘social death’. Research tells us that the arts can be an effective alternative or adjunct to biomedical interventions, creating happiness, resilience and inclusive communities which foster health and wellbeing. Through sharing the story of and findings from SCCA’s innovative Digital Storytelling project (a successful integration of creative arts, research and community outreach) over two years, we will show how this art form challenges myths and stereotypes around people living with dementia and their perceived worth.

Watch Michelle's video abstract

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