Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsThis week, we'll look at the dementias as an inspiration to the arts, introducing and reflecting on the increased interest in dementia that we've seen in the creative media. We will ask questions such as, how can the arts communicate the experience of people living with dementia? How can the arts communicate the biology of the dementias? And how can the experience of living with a dementia inspire the arts? We will begin to explore how arts based activities have been incorporated into care home settings as a means of engaging residents living with a dementia, and reflecting on how multi-arts approaches can support different interests and needs.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsWe'll hear from artists and those working closely with artists to investigate how the arts practices can be adapted to work with people at different stages of dementia. And finally, we'll investigate how dementia and the arts feature on the national and public policy agenda.

Welcome to Week 1

Welcome to the course. Here, Prof Sebastian Crutch, Director of the Created Out of Mind project and neuropsychologist at the Dementia Research Centre (UCL Institute of Neurology), introduces some of the key concepts and questions that will be covered in Week 1, spanning how the different dementias can act as an inspiration to the arts.

We will consider questions such as:

  • How can the arts communicate the experience of people living with dementia?

  • How can the arts communicate the biology of the dementias?

  • How can different arts practices be adapted to work with people at different stages of dementia?

  • How do dementia and the arts feature on the national and public policy agenda?

For learners who may not be familiar with different forms of dementia, this week will also include a brief overview of some of the rarer forms of dementia that will help you think about the content covered in this course.

The background music to this Welcome to Week 1 video comes from Hannah Peel’s instrumental version of ‘Don’t Take It Out on Me’, taken from her album Awake But Always Dreaming, which was written as a way of addressing, exploring and coming to terms with her grandmother’s dementia. About this piece of music, Hannah says: ‘I love the Golden Age of cinema and the scores, from Morricone to Herrmann. There is an ominous, Hitchcock-type orchestral sample at the start here, pitched down so it steps and sounds strange, almost circuit bent. It marks a change in the Awake But Always Dreaming album and the start of a change in the brain. Words are repeated and so is the woodwind’s hypnotic refrain. To me it feels like the mind is starting to jolt and drop memories while the fragility of memory is echoed with each breath. Darker memories can creep in to replace positive ones and I’m afraid to be seen as getting older and more vulnerable. The unblinking emotion of the mind feels like stone but starts to flow and erupt towards the end of the song. I often wonder if domestic or abusive memories are replaced by more positive ones as we get older or whether the mind treats them both as equal. I like to think the more positive ones remain and provide the comfort needed.’ Read the article in the ‘See Also’ section below to learn more about the background to this album.
CREDITS We would like to extend a special thank you to the following individuals and organisations for providing supplementary footage and images for this video: * Wellcome Collection * Chris Boïcos Fine Arts, Paris * Dementia Research Centre * Dementia Pathfinders * Arts 4 Dementia (Ceramics Workshop at Lambeth Palace Garden Museum) * Jewish Care * James Berry/ Wigmore Hall

Learning from each other and asking questions

We look forward to seeing contributions from a hugely diverse group of learners with varied backgrounds and perspectives. We hope that the Comments area of each step will be a valuable place for you to share your thoughts but also ask and answer questions so that you can learn from each other as well as from the content in the course.

If you have already begun to contribute, other learners may have replied to you. You will receive notifications of any new ‘Replies’ in the top right of the page. You can ‘Like’ comments if you agree or have found something particularly interesting. You can also filter the comments by ‘Most liked’, and ‘Follow’ those individuals who are of particular interest to you.

In the final step of each week we will answer some of the more frequently asked questions about specific topics in more detail, so please do submit your queries in the ‘Questions, Answers, and Communal Pinboard’ step of the relevant week.

Upgrading this course

Upgrading will offer unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn, so you can move through the course as quickly or slowly as you wish. You will also be able to access a final Test and Certificate of Achievement when you meet the criteria. Those working in an aligned field may find the Certificate of Achievement for this course useful for providing evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), or commitment to their career.

Find out more and upgrade now

Introduce yourself

Dementia is a very broad topic and we all come to it with different knowledge and experiences. Your experience of using arts-based practices as part of the dementia journey may be wider still. Given that there will be people with all kinds of backgrounds and reasons taking this course, are there any particular types of people taking this course that you look forward to hearing and learning from?

Lead Educator: Prof Sebastian Crutch
Course Mentor: Charles Harrison

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This video is from the free online course:

Dementia and the Arts: Sharing Practice, Developing Understanding and Enhancing Lives

UCL (University College London)