paper presents three artistsí residencies in a geriatric medicine unit in a
teaching hospital. The aim of the residencies was creation of new work of high
artistic quality reflecting the lived experience of the person with dementia
and greater understanding of service user experience of living with dementia.
This paper also explores arts-based research (ABR) methodologies in a medical
narrative enquiry were the method used in this study. Artists had extensive
access to service users with dementia, family carers and clinical team. Projects
were created through collaboration between clinical staff, arts and health
director, artist, patients and family carers. Each performance was accompanied
by a public seminar discussing dementia. Evaluations were undertaken following
each residency.† The process of creating
artistic responses to dementia is outlined, presented and discussed.
artworks were well received with repeat performances and exhibitions requested.
Evaluations of each residency indicated increased understanding of dementia. The
narratives within the artworks aided learning about dementia. The results are a
new chamber music composition; a series of visual artworks created
collaboratively between visual artist and patients and family carers and a
dance film inspired by a dancerís residency, all created through narrative
Discussion & Conclusion
support the role of ABR as creative process and qualitative research method
which contributes to illuminating and exploring the lived experience of dementia.† The arts act as a
reflective tool for learning and understanding a complex health condition, as
well as creating opportunities for increased understanding and public awareness
of dementia. Issues arising in ABR in medical settings are highlighted,
including ethical issues, the importance of service user narrative and
multi-disciplinary collaboration in arts and health practice and research.