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Research project: Developing an Aesthetic of Dementia Activism (DADA): Using art to mediate agency

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This Follow on Funding project is about using art to mediate the agency of people with dementia who campaign for social change. The aims of the project are to develop, curate, and evaluate an exhibition based on the original study on dementia activism. The project is highly collaborative and experimental in design and involves a Fellow in Visual Arts (Caroline Hick, University of Bradford) and almost half of the people with dementia (n=7) involved in the original study. The exhibition, entitled No Limits - Reimagining Life with Dementia, is based on the concept of ‘Speakers Corner' and seeks to explore the individual and collective strength of people with dementia. The exhibition includes a specially commissioned documentary film Agnes & Nancy, and set of bespoke banners by an installation artist, capturing images and thoughts around dementia activism. Most of the work for the exhibition, such as the title, was developed during a short residency in the Lake District, which all the team, including people with dementia and artists attended. The exhibition toured Bradford, Glasgow and Liverpool. Feedback about the exhibition is gathered using an on-site comments book and web based survey system.

This Follow on Funding project is about using art to mediate the agency of people with dementia who campaign for social change. The aims of the project are to develop, curate, and evaluate an exhibition based on the original study on dementia activism. The project is highly collaborative and experimental in design and involves a Fellow in Visual Arts (Caroline Hick, University of Bradford) and almost half of the people with dementia (n=7) involved in the original study. The exhibition, entitled No Limits – Reimagining Life with Dementia, is based on the concept of ‘Speakers Corner’ and seeks to explore the individual and collective strength of people with dementia. The exhibition includes a specially commissioned documentary film Agnes & Nancy, and set of bespoke banners by an installation artist, capturing images and thoughts around dementia activism. Most of the work for the exhibition, such as the title, was developed during a short residency in the Lake District, which all the team, including people with dementia and artists attended. The exhibition toured Bradford, Glasgow and Liverpool and there is a website www.nolimitsdementia.com. Feedback about the exhibition is gathered using an on-site comments book and web based survey system.

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council, Follow on Funding Scheme

Conferences and events associated with this project:

The exhibition has toured:
Bradford, as part of National Science Week (Sept, 11);
Glasgow, as part of the Scottish Mental Health & Arts Film Festival (Oct, 11);
Liverpool as part of National Dementia Congress (Nov, 11).

The film Agnes & Nancy has been selected for the International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (Nov, 2011)

The work will be presented at the 27th International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International, London, 2012.

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