Digital Participative Visual Arts Intervention for People with Dementia
Dementia is a devastating condition that affects around 850,000 people in the UK according to the Alzheimer’s Society. So how can digital visual art play a role early on in the disease? Whilst it has been found that music can unlock memories later into the disease, digital visual arts interventions appear to act earlier.
Working with Coventry residents, this project created digital materials and shared activities using local arts and psychology experts.
Researchers developed and improved an existing digital arts app named “ArtonTheBrain (AoTB)" utilising locally-created art. AoTB has been trialled among older people living in long-term care facilities in Boston, USA.
The trial demonstrated that the use of AoTB resulted in substantial improvements in wellbeing - regardless of cognitive status.
Although the published trial demonstrated significant benefits for an ageing population in North America, further work is required to co-design and adapt AoTB materials for use in the UK.
The project provided an opportunity for collaboration and co-creation between academics, practitioners, museums and the public, to design an adapted digital participative visual arts intervention for older people with dementia.
This growing and vulnerable population and their carers are often excluded from the visual arts sector.
The project laid the foundation for future creative technological developments to support Coventry’s elderly population.