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Dementia Lab conference

23 Sep 2022

Last week, Claire Craig and E3 PhD student, Marney Walker attended the Dementia Lab conference in Leuven. The conference was hosted by the LUCA School of Arts, Interactions Research Group with support by the University of Leuven. The conference was held in collaboration with the closing conference of the European Interreg North-West Europe project Certification D. This project has spent the last four years looking at ways to explore the means to certify technological products for people with dementia. Claire and Marney heard from 8 SMEs who were involved in the work about the role of the project and certification in supporting innovation and business growth.   

Related project: Making Sense Together

The theme of the main conference this year was the value of participation within design. Sessions explored the value of design and participation on three levels. On an individual level papers and workshops considered what participatory practices mean for individuals with dementia and the role of design in stimulating intergenerational dialogue. On a product level the conference looked at how design might hinder or support a person living with cognitive challenges. Finally, on an organisational level, sessions explored how a design process can support existing views in society on people with dementia. 

See also: Alzheimer Scotland conference

On day two of the conference, Claire chaired the first paper session of the conference which considered the role of design in countering stigma and raising awareness. Marney and Claire then co-facilitated a workshop in the afternoon on the theme of aesthetic preference and dementia. The first element of the workshop was led by Marney where she shared part of her PhD methodology. Claire then shared her work on visual approaches to engaging people living with dementia which has been part of the 100-year life enquiry. 

One of the highlights of the conference was the screening of 2020 film ‘Dick Johnson is Dead’, followed by a directors talk by Kirsten Johnson.