Here’s a quick update on progress across the three regions
North Wales – in partnership with Denbighshire County Council Arts Service
All four groups, of people living with dementia in the community, have now completed and exhibited their work:
  • The first two groups, both in Rhyl, exhibited their work at the Library Education Gallery. One group found the art intervention so stimulating that they went on to form a Lost in Art group.
  • The third group started at the Ruthin Craft Centre in January. It explored the use of clay and of silk screen printing.
  • The fourth group started in Llangollen in the spring, holding sessions at the Pavilion. An exhibition of their work opened in September in the new health centre in Llangollen.
  • An exhibition showing work from all 4 waves was arranged at Llangollen International Eisteddfod in the summer.
Derbyshire – in partnership with Derbyshire Community Health Services and the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery
  • The first group was 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.
  • A third group started at a day centre for people with dementia a few months later.
  • The fourth and final group starts this autumn . 
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 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 took place a care home in Sunderland. This included experimenting with ‘action painting.’
  • The fourth and final art intervention has now taken place at another care home in the North East. 
  • In addition to art work by the care home residents, where feasible there were also gallery visits.
With all but one of the art interventions now completed, across the three regions, the next step is to analyse the findings. We’ll all be watching with interest to see what these show.
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.