Re-imagining Dementia through the Arts

Re-imagining Dementia through the Arts

In this arts and community-based research project we brought persons with dementia, family members, visual and performance artists, and researchers together in a one-day workshop to explore the implications of the tragedy discourse for persons and families experiencing dementia and work with them to begin to create an alternative discourse. Working collaboratively, eight visual and poetic expressions were created that reflect what persons with dementia want the world to know about them: despite loss and sadness they are supported by loving networks, embracing life, remaining active and engaged, breaking the silence, and transforming with new possibilities. The visual and poetic expressions were chosen to be featured at an installation at LabCab, a multi-arts festival in Toronto, Canada, in July 2013. It also featured at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, Innovations Gallery in 2013 and was so successful that it was invited back for a second showing. A story on the art appeared in the Kitchener Record in Fall 2013.

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Sherry L. Dupuis, Ph.D., Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance, and Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo

Gail Mitchell, Ph.D., York University and York-UHN Nursing Academy

Pia Kontos, Ph.D., Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Christine Jonas-Simpson, Ph.D., School of Nursing, York University

Julia Gray, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto and Playwright, Possible Arts

Funded by a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Knowledge Translation Supplement Grant.