Dementia and Imagination

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Arts for Health has been a partner one of five Connected Communities Programme themes which shared funding in excess of £7m. The focus of the Connected Communities Programmes is on engaging with communities, giving people the opportunity to contribute to the creation, design and production the research. By working in partnerships with community groups the research is able to produce knowledge and create resources that are of direct significance to the groups involved but also have wider societal, cultural and economic benefits.

Dementia & Imagination received three-year funding of £1.2 million, researching how taking part in visual arts can contribute to the health and well-being of people with dementia. Clive Parkinson leads on a specific element of the research programme focusing around art in the research process and engagement through art. This project brought together social sciences researchers specialising in dementia, gerontology, psychology and economics with researchers in the visual arts, cultural policy and museum studies.

The research asked the question: How can visual arts interventions change, sustain and catalyse community cultures, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to create dementia friendly communities?

As the Dementia & Imagination research project draws to its completion, Arts for Health will be releasing a number of outputs from this research project online, and through published journals, monographs and exhibitions. On the 31st January 2017 we held our first major dissemination event at The Wellcome Trust where we shared a heady mix of data and art that has been produced as part of the research, and in response to the project. We will add this material to this website and the Dementia & Imagination website as the writing-up phase of work continues through 2017.

Cover of Dementia & Imagination
For now, we are pleased to launch, Dementia & Imagination: Research Informed Approaches to Visual Arts Interventions. This handbook – also known as The Yellow Book – is primarily focused on supporting artists, and will be followed up with training in 2017/2018.

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We have also published our research protocol in the British Medical Journal Open: Dementia and Imagination: a mixed-methods protocol for arts and science research

We have also published our methodological approach and its formulation in Cultural Trends:

Carrying out research across the arts and humanities and social sciences: developing the methodology for Dementia and Imagination
Presentations and other material will be uploaded incrementally. Some of the artistic outputs will be posted on a stand-alone web platform, details to follow.

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