Here’s a quick update on progress across the three regions

North Wales – in partnership with Denbighshire County Council Arts Service

  • The first group, in Rhyl, exhibited their work at the Library Education Gallery. They found the art intervention so stimulating that they have now gone on to   form a Lost in Art group.
  • The second group, also in Rhyl, has exhibited their work at the Library Education Gallery too.
  • A third group started at the Ruthin Craft Centre in January, exploring the use of clay and of silk screen printing.
  • Plans are now underway for the fourth group, in Llangollen, in the spring – aiming to hold sessions at the Pavilion.

Derbyshire – in partnership with Derbyshire Community Health Services and the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery

  • The first group ran successfully for people in the early to mid stages of Dementia at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell.
  • A second group started early in 2015, at the Walton Hospital in Chesterfield.

The North East – in partnership with local care homes and Equal Arts

  • The first art intervention, at a care home in South Shields, proved so successful that the care home’s owners have decided to use the methods of the intervention across the group's other care homes.  
  • The second art intervention took place at a care home in Newcastle, starting in January.
  • ·The third art intervention has recently begun at a care home in Sunderland.
  • ·A fourth art intervention is now being planned at another care home in the North East.    

Social Return on Investment

The Dementia and Imagination research is different from previous research in a number of ways, including the application of Health Economics to ascertain its potential economic value. That’s why there’s a six stage evaluation currently underway to identify the social return on the resources invested in the art interventions.

Outcomes for Communities as well as Individuals

That’s another distinctive aspect of our study. Research is also being undertaken to identify how far the art interventions are helping create dementia friendly communities and influencing professionals working in the field – exploring the idea of social contagion.

Behind the scenes

A lot of the work undertaken by the researchers from the partner universities has been behind the scenes. This has included:

  • Ensuring the research is properly conducted, from appropriate recruitment criteria and sample size to ensuring those who are participating have given informed consent.
  • Collecting baseline data, to enable the effects of the art interventions to be ascertained, measuring a range of factors, from demographic information to social contacts, from medication use to quality of life.
  • Gathering evidence of the project’s impact, for instance on policy or practice.