Remembering My Hat

14th November 2014

CABS/CPA seminar on innovative methods for dementia research: Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:55

Erratic and partial liveblog of this seminar. Possibly slightly scantier this afternoon and definitely no account of the questions and comments afterwards, as I’m also chairing.

Hannah Zeilig, University of the Arts, London

Mark Making and Descartes projects

Two projects recently completed, Mark Making and Descartes, both about dementia and arts using ethnographic methods. Both collaborative projects with wide range of people.

Image of a slinky (toy) as useful for working with dementia – have to be flexible and adaptive to the unexpected. Sense of humour also helps.

Four methods:

  • Participant observation
  • Focus groups
  • comics
  • interviews

General agreement about importance of dementia care, lots of ‘noise’ about it. But big lacks in post-diagnosis support and funding.

Descartes project: using the arts to educated the dementia care workforce. Applied project to develop arts-based workshop to educate dementia workforce.

Real suspicion of Hannah by care home staff. Protective of their routines and practices. And of residents. Offer to let them read her notes didn’t help. Really didn’t understand why she was there. Didn’t have a conception of what research was.

Developed a comic for staff to convey information about the research project. Residents also liked it and seemed to understand it. 63% of staff then came in their own time to research workshops!


(cc) Julie Kertesz

Mark Making: The Arts in Dementia Care

Lit review – vast majority of work in this area is in last 3 years, some 20 years old.

Developed another comic to communicate about the research project.

Worked with 4 dementia arts project. In one project the comic was incredibly effective. But in other projects they didn’t want to use it because it used the word dementia a lot. Artists leading projects felt that people didn’t want to be labelled as having dementia.

Difficult to interview PWD. People running the projects protective of PWD. Also no time to build up relationships (6 month research project)

Questionnaire used smiley face scale and ‘yes / no’ answers. Was short and friendly. Worked really well. But many people wrote long accounts on the back, hadn’t expected that. Some criticisms from PWD of q’airre e.g. ‘don’t feel like any of those faces, or all of them at once’

Focus groups. Hannah had brought lots of prompts but they weren’t needed. Artist present drew the stories that she heard during the focus group.

Telephone interview were okay but not as successful. A few in-depth interviews. One with PWD a few months after arts project had finished. Her carer was worried she wouldn’t remember it, but she did remember lots.


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