Focus Artistic Research

D.A.S. Dementia. Arts. Society.

Project lead: Ruth Mateus-Berr 
Institute for Art and Society
Duration: 01.03.2016 - 31.03.2019
Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR 366 Programm zur Entwicklung und Erschließung der Künste (PEEK)
This project is about integrating the potentials of arts-based research into the ongoing efforts to meet the challenges which dementia brings to our societies. Some 10 Million people in Europe are suffering from dementia. By the year 2050 the number of people with dementia is estimated to double. People with dementia suffer from societal stigmatization. Common tasks like shopping, financial agendas and traveling to unknown places can be difficult for them. To avoid rejection and embarrassment they seclude themselves from society.

The principle hypothesis of this research project is, that specifically created art and design interventions can change the societal approach to dementia and improve the individual situation of people with dementia and their caring persons.

On the societal level this project aims to develop art-based processes for changing the sensory perception of persons without dementia and thereby raising the general societal awareness for the situation of people with dementia. On the individual level the project aims to develop concepts for artworks, design products, interactive creative social processes, performative interventions or other creative tools to increase the individual selfdetermination and self-confidence of people. This should support people with dementia to remain an active part of society for a longer period of time.

Spending some time with people suffering from dementia, dialogues and interviews with experts, workshops on design thinking, sensual workshops, narrative drawings, photographs, videos and public performances will be the methods applied.

Where social politics, therapies, caregiving and medicine come to their end, arts- and design-strategies aim to open up new perspectives to people with dementia concerning their own capabilities and their situation within social environments. This is the particular approach to the challenges caused by dementia.
D.A.S. Dementia. Arts. Society. 2016.