Creative Arts for Dementia Network Conference

I went to this conference on 16th April and was lucky enough to have my place paid for as they kindly offered 10 artists free places.

It was organised by the indomitable Maria Parsons who is a great Mover and Shaker for this cause and is based in Oxford.

I bumped into the Keynote speaker on the way in, also trying to find the entrance to St Hugh’s College.

Then, once there I saw Hannah Cervenka, one of the local Arts Development Officers and Sharon Woodward who taught a course I went on at Film Oxford, sometime ago.

Several people I knew by sight and got chatting to a PhD psychology student from Northampton University and others I know through  Cherwell District Council’s Taking Part.

There was an interesting introduction to The Brain and Ageing which irritated me as it seemed to be lots of graphs from quite old research papers (2006..) and terminology which was fine if you had a medical background ( I was OK and kept up!) but for the arts professionals and Social Care professionals this was not really aimed at the audience who was present!

Then we had some workshops which were very useful

The first was as below:

Partnership working with Douglas Hunter, Co-Director, Equal Arts, Newcastle

We are advocates of creative ageing, providing opportunities for self-expression to help improve wellbeing.

We strongly believe in the positive health impacts of the arts and support care staff and artists delivering musical, visual and movement-based creative activities with active older people and in dementia care settings.

In recent years we have explored the effects of creative activity on people experiencing early signs of dementia, and people over 60 who were isolated and therefore at risk of developing mental health problems.

This was very useful and inspiring, seeing how community projects can grow organically from very small ideas…. However, what they all had in common was the input from Equal Arts and their ability to co-ordinate and introduce the right people to the right people… source funding etc.

Still,very interesting and hopeful!

After lunch there was the workshop below which I had heard about sometime ago, originally when I was  working at The New Art Gallery Walsall.

Unfortunately, I missed the training sessions they were running in the Midlands.

I was really looking forwards to hearing about the app they are using as it demonstrates the ways digital tech can be used even with  older people and those with dementia , interactively and constructively.

The speaker was very straightforward, clear and engaging to listen to.

I must have a look and see if there is anything else I can use it for….. it made me thing possibly designing an app…!!!!! but again… I’d have to decide what for and WHY first!

Here’s some detail though of the project

Using Apps in Museums

Developing House of Memories: Cultural and Social Partnerships, Claire Benjamin, Deputy Director of Education and Communities, National Liverpool Museums

House of Memories is an award-winning training programme, which targets the carers of people living with dementia. It provides participants with information about dementia and equips them with the practical skills and knowledge to facilitate a positive quality of life experience for people living with dementia. Find out more about the House of Memories programme.

House of Memories offers dementia awareness training for professionals, as well as buddy days for families, friends and volunteer carers. There are also a number of memory resources, activities and events. To get up to date news, sign up for our e-newsletter.

My House of Memories allows you to explore objects from the past and share memories together. It can be used by anyone, but has been designed for, and with, people living with dementia and their carers.

House of memories App

Browse through objects from across the decades, brought to life with multimedia, to reminisce about a range of every day objects, from school life to sport. Save objects to your own memory tree, memory box or memory timeline. Create personal profiles for different people, so that they can save their favourite objects and look at them again. Read the carer’s toolkit, with top tips for reminiscence, and ideas for memory activities you can do together.

Features include:

Hundreds of inspirational objects from the 1920s-1980s to stimulate memory and conversation
Fascinating facts and background information about the objects
Music, sound effects and videos to provide a rich, multi-sensory experience and bring objects to life
An easy to use design with simple touchscreen controls that empower users
Activities to do together – collect your favourite objects for display in a memory tree, memory box or timeline
A ‘read aloud’ option for people who prefer to listen than read
Helpful ‘Hints’ to prompt people and remind them what the objects are
A toolkit for carers, with tips and hints on additional memory activities you can do together


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