Dementia and imagination:connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice
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Has co-investigator
Has principal investigator Gillian Windle
Impact The research aims to demonstrate to central and local government, statutory and voluntary sector, health and social care providers, and community arts and cultural venues how they can contribute towards creating dementia supportive communities through visual arts as the catalyst for increasing connectivity, well-being and changing social representations of dementia. A strength of the proposed research is the range of potential beneficiaries (beyond academia) and the subsequent impact. Specifically: Impact through informing national policy: Dementia is a national priority. This research will contribute to the ambitions for Dementia Supportive Communities (WAG, 2011a) and changing awareness and understanding about dementia, enabling people to 'live well' (National Dementia Strategy, DoH). Partnership with the Alzheimer's Society will provide a valuable link to government policy making. Impact to cultural policy: It is anticipated the research will make an important contribution to spending decisions within cultural policy, enabling cultural organisations, along with the wider arts and humanities community, to better evidence the impact cultural practice and research can have on communities, using the language and methods most closely associated with central government and Treasury's Green Book (HMT 2003, O'Brien 2010). Impact to the third sector and local authority policy and practice: The research will assist with spending decisions, by providing evidence of the benefits to people with dementia, their carers, and the communities in which they live. The economic value will be of particular relevance in these times of austerity. This will be of direct relevance to policy actions in local authority health, social care and well-being strategies. The robust programme of research will contribute to developing thinking between health and arts sectors that engagement with the arts can be seen as a valid part health care. Charities will be able to use findings for advocacy purposes. Impact to practice: The research consolidates existing theory and practice into the development of a new programme which will be robustly evaluated. The resulting output will be of high quality and thus of practical benefit to art practitioners and arts organisations, galleries and museums practitioners, the medical profession (including academics, GPs, medical students and care staff) and carers, who will benefit from understanding how to use art to improve quality of life. Understanding relationships within communities of practice will identify barriers and subsequent solutions to ensure maximum benefits to their work and those who receive their services. Impact to communities: Older people and the general public as future older citizens will benefit through improved societal awareness of the circumstances of cognitive impairment in later life and outputs will identify how older people manage to maintain social and community involvement. Understanding the benefits/barriers will improve wider participation and connectivity, and reduce social isolation for people with dementia and their families/carers. Challenging negative perceptions and attitudes towards people with dementia is anticipated through planned exhibitions. Impact through communication and dissemination: The research has drawn on some of the principles of implementation science to develop a knowledge transfer and communication strategy, which details organisations that will potentially benefit and mechanisms of engagement. The development work has established a national community of policy and practice, consisting of key stakeholders/organisations and people with dementia. Importantly they bridge and interconnect currently separate arts, dementia, health, social care & academic, policy & practice silos. Because they engage public, private & voluntary sector stakeholders, this may be beneficial in wider policy & practice arenas, maximise opportunities & minimise barriers.
Status Active
Identifier AH/K00333X/1
abstract Although people are living longer than ever before, the number of people with dementia is increasing, and 1 in 5 people over 80 will have dementia by 2021. People with dementia and their families often become disconnected from society through the stigmatizing effect dementia has on taking part in everyday activities. Added to this, the current economic climate has meant reductions in many services, and there is often a lack of meaningful activity available to this population. Yet many people with dementia wish to remain within their communities, in the home of their choice, near their family, carers and friends, with the support of health and social care services. This research aims to address the disconnection and marginalisation of people with dementia and explore how the vision for dementia supportive communities might benefit from creative activities. Specifically, it will use a visual art intervention as the catalyst for change for understanding community connectivity, challenging attitudes and promoting well being. Research to date, although limited, suggests a number of potential benefits of arts participation to the quality of life, health and well-being of people with dementia. This project wishes to build on this to address a new area, which will maximise the involvement of, and potential benefit to communities. It will look at how participation in community arts interventions can increase well-being and connectedness between the dementia community and wider society. It will also examine another new area, to further understand the underlying processes that create the connection between arts participation and good outcomes. To realise the aims, the research will be set within three areas of the UK. These consist of ethnically and geographically diverse communities to contextualise the research. In each area our project partners will deliver the same visual arts intervention over a 12 month period to different groups. To understand the impact, the research will assess changes over time in the well-being and social connectedness of people with dementia, and how these changes can in turn have positive effects in communities (facilitate change in societal attitudes and promote participation and inclusion) through social contagion. The processes and outcomes of the research will be assessed using a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches, and will use art, both as a tool for analysis and for visual, creative representations of the results. The research builds on existing relationships and develops new ones with community and policy partners, such as arts organisations, museums, galleries, health and social care practitioners, charities and local government. This will ensure full engagement and maximum benefit and impact for research, policy and practice. It will also contribute towards building future sustainability.
Type Project
Label Dementia and imagination:connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice
Title Dementia and imagination:connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice

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Bangor University Of
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