Dementia Arts Photo Challenge
The Way I See It
Members of the public joined Created out of Mind collaborators for 'The way I see it', a discussion event at Wellcome Collection on Thursday 11th May, exploring how we might open up new conversations and perspectives about dementia through media, music and storytelling. Our leading panel of speakers included BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh, artist, singer and composer Hannah Peel and science writer Philip Ball.
After a short introduction by Wellcome and our Associate Director Caroline Evans, the event kicked off with a talk by Philip Ball who explored references to dementias in literature and the role of storytelling in helping societies to resolve dilemmas and confront difficult realities. Next, Fergus Walsh used archived news footage to demonstrate different representations of dementia experiences and the responsibility of the media to help inform public understanding, and subsequently support and funding. He recalled a time when 'Cancer' was an unspoken word; dementia is now at the beginning of that journey.
Finally, Hannah Peel spoke openly about her experiences with her Grandmother's dementia and how music became a tool for understanding & communication between them. Drawing from these personal experiences Hannah began to develop a sound palette to imagine a different world; and then her critically-acclaimed album 'Awake but always dreaming'. was born. She concluded with her moving track from this album: 'Conversations'.
The event was fully booked and the audience were knowledgeable and engaged. There were lots of questions and rich discussion, and feedback so far has been very positive with people calling the event 'interesting', 'thought-provoking' and 'inspiring'.
Dementia in the local community
We went along to the Camden Dementia Action Alliance on Monday 15th May, hosted at The Canal Museum in Kings Cross, London. Our Co-Director Julian West presented Created Out of Mind's key aims, research themes and vision to a diverse audience, including representatives of 34 local organisations. People living with dementia and carers spoke movingly about their experiences and challenges, and why it is so important for local communities to provide them with opportunities to engage and thrive.
Camden is a leading London borough in championing dementia-friendly spaces and support. Local politicians including Councillor Alison Kelly, who is chair of the Camden Dementia Action Alliance and the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Richard Cotton stressed the importance of keeping up this momentum and setting an example for all boroughs to join together in meeting the challenge of dementia. Learn more about the Camden Dementia Action Alliance.
In association with Created Out of Mind collaborator Living Words, Royal Academy of Music composers presented a recital of eleven new contemporary songs for soprano, two clarinets, viola and double bass at a performance on Tuesday 16th May. Several of the composers whose works were being performed in this concert were inspired by the texts brought together in the Living Words publication 'The Things Between Us'. It was wonderful to see the words of people living with dementias brought to life in a new, engaging way.
Alzheimer's Society Annual Conference
Created Out of Mind presented an exhibition stand at the Annual Alzheimer's Society Conference in London on Thursday 18th May. Using installations and ceramics created with people with dementias and smart technology, we demonstrated how science and the arts can come together to enrich dementia experiences and perceptions, and create new tools for communication and understanding.
We joined exhibitors and delegates from across dementia research, policy, care and communities to discuss how best to improve the quality of life for people affected by dementias at the Alzheimer's Society's biggest-ever conference. Highlights included: Hearing the new Dementia Statements from people living with a diagnosis; Hilary Doxford presenting the new Three Nations Dementia Working Group; a talk from UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) Director Bart de Strooper on bringing international partners together to break knowledge barriers, and a political panel on rising to the challenge of dementia this General Election. An inspiring and thought-provoking event!
'Words and Letters’ experimental printing workshop
On Friday 19th May, Created Out of Mind visual artist Charlie Murphy and Pixel Press teamed up to lead an experimental printing workshop. Hub collaborators, people living with dementia, carers and family members came together to play with letters and words using different printing processes, type and materials.
They worked together to create postcards, posters and notes which expressed something that was important to them. From quotes, jokes and meaningful words to poignant observations, everyone got involved and produced some wonderful pieces- represented in type using letterpress, paper, leaves, wax and light.
The Neuronal Disco
On Sat 27th May, as part of the Normal? Festival of the Brain Festival in Folkestone, neuroscientist Selina Wray & artist Charlie Murphy led 'The Neuronal Disco!' Dance met science in this brand new experiment, part of the Created Out of Mind 'Brains in a dish' project.
Adults and children were invited to animate the development of the brain and the connections between cells through a series of choreographed movements to well-known pop songs. It was well received and a fun way of taking festival-goers into the heart of molecular neurochemistry.
Dementias and vision
Created Out of Mind and UCL researcher Keir Yong gave a fantastic talk on 'Dementias and Vision as part of the Wellcome packed lunch series on Wednesday 31st May. He discussed the work of the Pedestrian Accessibility Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA) at UCL, which simulates real-world settings to explore how characteristics of the physical environment (e.g. lighting or clutter) may influence the ability of people with dementia-related visual impairment to carry out everyday activities.
It opened up an interesting and engaging discussion with the public, one we hope to continue as we progress through our Hub residency.
So that's our month in short! Please keep checking in on our website Events pages and subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates on news, events and other opportunities to get involved with Created out of Mind.