A performing arts company BrightShadow was invited to join the Dementia Friendly Communities Reference group following a recommendation from another community based organisation in Kent. Conversations at this meeting led to the idea of an intergenerational art project.
Brightshadow approached the COGS club, an activity group for people with mild and moderate dementia, based at Trinity Foyer in Margate, to see if participants and staff would like to participate in the project. Young people from an existing local Intergenerational project coordinated by the Children’s Society, were also able to participate.
The three organisations agreed to develop an experiential art installation together. They hoped to raise awareness of what it might feel like to have dementia and increase the public’s understanding of how to interact with someone with dementia, by piloting an experiential installation produced together.
What happened next?
A number of planning meetings happened between the organisational project leads. BrightShadow initially met with the COGs club participants to start to understand from their perspective what it feels like to have dementia. They explored questions such as “if your mind was a room what would it look like?”
Following this, BrightShadow facilitated workshops with the young people from Children’s Society to learning about and discuss dementia and ideas for the project. The following ideas were included in the final installation, all informed by insights from COGS participants and the young people’s ideas:
Spaces causing visual disorientation
A room representing the ways in which participants had described their memories before and after having dementia
Stories about fictional characters who experienced dementia
An experience for the public where they were led to feel left out and patronised
A film about getting something wrong and feeling silly
Songs and poems about dementia
A song comparing experiences of dementia with a young person’s experience of depression
Facts about dementia
The COGs participants felt that the final art installation was successful in representing their thoughts and feelings about dementia. For more details about what we learned from this project, and also the other intergenerational projects happening across Kent, please see our Intergenerational Top Tips.