Summer update from the Dementia and Imagination study

Dementia and Imagination

Connecting Communities Through Art


Highlights from our summer activities and workshops so far…


The Dementia and Imagination summer adventures have began!  Our newsletter is teeming with updates from activities we have taken part in so far including: workshops, symposiums, art installations and more.

If we haven’t already, we hope to see you at some of our upcoming events!


The D & I team

Imagining Dementia Friendly Futures: Dementia and Imagination and Utopia 2016

This year’s annual Connected Communities Festival saw new possibilities as we created a series of local events and participated in a national Utopia Fair at Somerset House, London.

Artists Lisa Carter, Kate Sweeney and Claire Ford, and Gillian Brent and Jo Dacombe along with our arts partners Denbighshire County Council, Equal Arts, and Nottingham Contemporary, led a series of workshops using creativity to explore ideas around imagining ways in which communities might better include people living with dementia and their supporters. 

Each event brought together a mix of people –people living with dementia, family members, schoolchildren, health care professionals, and local organisations – to think about imagining dementia friendly futures.

The idea for each workshop was to ask people to think about imagining dementia friendly futures, by utilising art to make it accessible and open.



Right: school children, relatives and people living with dementia drawing on a canvas of envelopes their ideas for a dementia Utopia.



Following the local workshops, the creations were transported to Somerset House, where alongside a number of other projects Dementia and Imagination held a workshop stand inviting people to have a go at the three art activities, adding in their own work to the installations started in the local workshops.

Presented in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Connected Communities programme, the Utopia Fair at Somerset House showcased the creative outcomes from 25 AHRC-funded projects alongside 10 additional projects that have been hand-selected by Somerset House. The entire festival was inspired by the 500th anniversary of the publishing of Thomas More’s book, Utopia and is part of a year long celebration called Utopia 2016: a year of imagination and possibility, taking place at Somerset House.



Left: Art making in action - Kate’s ‘Meet Jim’ session inviting people to draw imaginative ideas for the future for Jim.

As well as art making visitors could see art work made during the research on display and talk with  both researchers and artists from the study to share their thoughts on creativity and dementia.

The Fair provided a space for engaging and thought provoking conversations. It was a really  positive weekend and fantastic to represent the research.

A short film of the weekend, has been produced by the Arts and Humanities research Council (AHRC) which you can watch below:

Right: A screenshot from the film of the Utopia Fair made by AHRC.

On taking part in the Fair, artist Lisa Carter said:

“Participating in the Connected Communities Festival at Somerset House was inspirational due to the breadth of innovation and creativity employed by an eclectic range of groups committed whole heartedly to improving and celebrating what people can do for themselves and each other when they collaborate.

Beyond the Fair, Lisa is hoping to explore further avenues for this piece of work, called Eloquent Brain, in new directions and to new locations. She has made a short film of her work with Culture Colony which featured at the Fair. You can view a short 5 minute except of the full film here:

The team will also be at the Green Man festival in August with an installation by Carol Hanson, linked to our activities so far on Imagining Dementia Friendly Futures.





Right and Below left: Paper sculptures placed on a wire and shelf structure that grew and changed as people contributed making their own sculpture.


Doris and Ivor continue their adventures!

Research artist Carol Hanson has been busy with two new installations in North Wales. Her latest work provided a colourful addition to a kiosk on Bangor Pier and a second installation at the Taste Academy building in Rhyl was brought to life at dusk with light and animation,

Carol’s work has been inspired by the humour she observed at the art sessions that have formed part of the research.

Her cartoon couple will be making further appearances over the summer and you can follow their adventures on Twitter:

Right: A surprise for passers-by in one of the kiosks on Bangor Pier, as Doris and Ivor take up residence.

Creating a dementia supportive practice community: first three events a success

The first of a series of network events were held in July, looking to creating a North Wales dementia network. Led by Dr Catrin Hedd Jones and Dr Jennifer Roberts, the series of events are looking at how organisations and individuals can work collaboratively to deliver a dementia supportive practice community in North Wales.

The events included both discussion and creativity by looking at identifying opportunities for people living with dementia and those who care for them, building on excellent work already in place and looking at future needs.

The morning session included a presentation by the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project DEEP), who are working closely with people living with dementia and their family and friends to support people to take part and be active, despite their diagnosis.

In the afternoon session attendees had the opportunity to take part in a creative workshop with artist Lisa Carter using signs as inspiration for collage making.

Left: A selection of collages made at the third event in Denbigh.

The network is open to people living with dementia, care and support workers, artists and academics who are currently supporting people to live well with dementia in North Wales.

The events are funded by the Bangor University ESRC Impact Acceleration Account and is a collaboration with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Art in Health and Well-being and the North Wales Alzheimer’s Society.

The next series of events are due to take place in September with a conference planned for January 2017.

There’s still plenty of time to get involved, contact Dr Jennifer Roberts at the Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, Bangor University, for more details:

Festival of Behavioural Change – Dementia Day

Right: Some of the graphomania made at the festival workshop.





Dementia literally had it’s day at the inaugural Festival of Behaviour Change in Bangor in May.

The festival provided a 2–week celebration of behaviour change research including subjects such as health living, health and social care, education, mindfulness and technology.

For the Dementia and Imagination session, Dr Catrin Hedd Jones provided an overview of the research before artist Lisa Carter from Denbighshire County Council Arts Service led a hands on art session using a technique called ’graphomania’, which involves mark making onto paper.

Delegates heard from a number of key speakers and projects including: Chris Roberts and his partner Jayne Goodrick on their experiences of ‘living alongside’ dementia, there was information from the Older People’s Commissioner, DEEP – the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment and Project, digital life story books with Book of You, and a keynote from Professor Bob Woods on staff training in dementia care.

Workshops at the Wychwood Festival:

Dementia and Imagination teamed up with Age Cymru and Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Hand-i-Pocket project for workshops with families at the Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, 4th –6th June.

Over 60 people took part in creative making, exploring pressing a mixture of familiar and unusual objects, both natural and manmade, into air drying clay, during three 2-hour workshops over the festival weekend.

The activity was inspired by some of the art sessions held as part of the research and provided a gentle way to open up conversations around art and dementia.


Left: children exploring pressing objects with air drying clay.

In other news...

Dementia and Imagination featured in a programme on S4C in June as part of a series following the journey of life from the womb to old age. The research as included in a programme about later life which included a segment on Dementia, as well as ways that we might be able to support healthy ageing.

You can read more on the series here:

Our next newsletter….

Will be out in the Autumn!


Join us for a round up of our summer activities and for updates on the research!


In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and visit our website for updates.


The Dementia and Imagination research is jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council under the Connected Communities programme. 

Important Information

We are happy for you to share this newsletter with other people, but we do not wish for any part of it to be changed or used for commercial purposes. Images are subject to copyright and permission should be sought for their use. Occasionally, we may share images from other sources for which we have sought permission to use.

The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by the Dementia and Imagination project team. We endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct. However, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the newsletter or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in the newsletter. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this newsletter.

We may sometimes include links to websites and other information which are not under the control of the Dementia and Imagination project team. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.