As the seasons change and the deckchairs are packed away there is one garden that will remain forever green - at least in our memories.
Einstein’s Garden: the heart of the Green Man Festival and where scientists and artists wait to take you on a weird journey of discovery, saw two curious cartoon festival goers unpack their quirky 1975 DAF44 car and pitch their tent for the very first time. Piled high with suitcases, overloaded with picnic food and proudly showing off their best table lamp, Doris and Ivor might have looked a little out of place in the lush green lowland of the beautiful Brecon Beacons but they certainly provided an eye catching sight to those who passed nearby.
They had definitely chosen green and fertile ground. Amidst the riot of other brightly coloured stands of geneticists, Met Office scientists and bug picnics, the simple tonal shades of the ‘Dementia and Imagination’ stall attracted over 800 people over four intense days; all curious enough to engage with Doris and Ivor’s biggest fans, sparking in-depth conversations on the impact of arts-based practices in dementia services.
Who said that nobody wants to talk about Dementia?
‘Carry On Cartoon Camping’, the stand’s eye-catching installation, was Research Artist Carol Hanson’s creative twist, designed to make the findings of our research programme Dementia & Imagination, led by Bangor University, more accessible to the public.
Environmentally conscious, the set was a cleverly constructed from card and paper; a cartoon campsite belonging to characters Doris and Ivor, who having climbed from Carol’s sketchbook (and intent on living in the moment) were busy enjoying their #funnysummer.
Carol’s main observation of the interactions in the art groups during the research process was the level of humour and fun that had both greeted and surprised her. After all, isn’t dementia all doom and gloom?
As people stopped to admire Doris and Ivor’s vintage car (and its paper fluffy dice), children and adults of all ages stopped to ask what art has to do with dementia.
It was a great opportunity to explain more about the focus of this significant research project to a wide range of people - from those who hadn’t heard of dementia to others with related backgrounds like occupational therapists, support workers, researchers, auditors, managers, GPs and an entrepreneur hoping to invent therapeutic games for people with dementia. Many supported the view of the potential benefits of using arts based practices with people who are experiencing cognitive impairment.