Creative Dementia Arts Conference 2016

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This years conference was at St Hugh’s College, Oxford 14th and 15th April 2016.

My original proposal for this MA  ( as I remember it!) was  based on autobiographical and collective memory and I had some idea, I think, of linking my community -based work with my practice. I’ll explore how these links have developed and unravelled in another post but I’m including this resume of the conference to reference specific uses of digital technology and also a project I became aware of that I will follow up in the future, post-MA.

From a Networking Point of view the conference is always useful meeting with colleagues, Clare Carswell who is Lights Up Co-ordinator.

Lights up is a Monthly arts group for people with Dementia and their carers in West Oxfordshire. I have worked with the group on several occasions and work from the group was exhibited at an exhibition in January, curated and installed by Clare.

Hannah Cervenka ( who Co-ordinates Taking Part which helps to fund Community practice in the area) and Paula Bailey ( who I worked with on the Banbury Old Town Party community event for several years).  Both are Arts Development Officers for Cherwell District Council,  Karey Morley, who facilitates the ‘Times Gone By’ Reminiscence group at  Banbury Museum were also there and I had a great discussion about Community Practice with Pam Foley, sculptor amongst others.

Frames of Mind

The key elements of the Conference for me were the Workshop by Salmagundi Films , a not for profit arts organisation founded in 2004 by Zoe Flynn and Bo Chapman and based in Stratford, East London

Their workshop highlighted their use of iPads for people with dementia in care homes, framesofmind_300.png

“Frames Of Mind® (FOM) is our concept of using Stop Frame Animation as a therapeutic communication tool. With Animation anything can happen. It is a creative process which encourages the use of visual metaphors, to think outside the box, and this liberation from the ‘literal’ can enable participants to explore and communicate potentially difficult or sensitive issues.”

There is an article published in Dementia Care which gives further insight into their work.

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I have tried to introduce Google Maps as a Reminiscence tool but have limited success. Working as a sole practitioner is  restrictive unless I work 1:1 or 1:2 which isn’t possible in the places where I work or with the groups that I facilitate, at the moment.

In the case of Frames of Mind there was funding to include Care staff in the project for training and supply of iPads to the homes for (in theory) a sustainable project. This goes back to the need discussed in a past post about working as an individual rather than a company…for funding and commissioning purposes.

For the future this may be the only way for me to go as a Community Artist……

We worked through the process of making a personal portrait and also saw how Stop Frame animation could used to make short autobiographical films for  people with dementia using personal objects or photos.

I don’t have an iPad but will invest in one, play around with the drawing apps and some stop-frame  and introduce the technology to some individuals and staff in the groups I work with. Too good an opportunity to miss. Again it will have to wait a little while.

The hand- held quality of the iPad really helps make the experience intimate and personal. Much more so than a lap-top which  can  seem too threatening to much older people.

UAL and Dementia Research

In one of the (many) leaflets I picked up There was a call for Papers for the Royal Society for Public Health Conference in 2017 on the Arts and Dementia. For the therapeutic nature of the arts to be recognised and researched is  a huge leap. The Research is both Qualitative and Quantitative which means it  can be used to attract funding and help reduce other costs! Dr. Hannah Zeilig from London College of Fashion, UAL is one of the Organising Committee for the Conference.

Again something to Research when the MA is  completed  to  consolidate my personal and community practice.

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