A new project telling the stories of Dundee people’s childhoods through teddy bears has been launched.
Talking ‘Bout Teddies explores the need for comfort and reassurance and features the the stories of teddies belonging to people aged between two and 92, told through a series of short films that will be shown to the public in the city’s libraries.
The project, in partnership with Connected Baby, an organisation devoted to teaching the science of connection in childhood, launched at Dundee’s Central Library on Wednesday.
Research scientist Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, who runs Connected Baby, said: “It’s easy to think that teddies are just a cute mass of brown fur, big eyes and silent stuffing.
“But it turns out they are so much more. The way they feel – the way they smell – the way they squash.
“All of these are sensory sensations that calm a child’s biological stress systems.
“The stories help us to think more deeply about the power of teddies, the lasting impact of children’s stress and the importance of relationships in human lives.”
The stories range from a pensioner who was a child in the war, telling the story of how his teddies protected him from the fear of death and of being killed by ‘incoming shrapnel’ to a two-year old who tells us how ‘cuddly’ her bear is.
Fiona Macpherson, children’s library and information services section leader at Leisure and Culture Dundee said: “We instinctively know that teddies offer children comfort, and Dr Zeedyk uses that knowledge in her own work to explain how adults carry within them an ‘internal teddy bear’, which helps them cope with life’s stresses.
“It is this link between childhood experiences and adult health that gives the project a unique take on an important message for all of us, whatever our age.”
The project is jointly funded by the Carnegie UK and Wellcome Trust as part of their Engaging Libraries programme, a scheme for public libraries across the UK to pilot public engagement projects on health and wellbeing.