Selected Projects / Dementia Lab Conference: Supporting Ability

The diagnosis of dementia is on the rise in Canada and internationally. While people living with dementia face incredible hurdles with identity, loneliness, agency and stigmatization, the care circles around these individuals are also affected. On a societal level, the capacity for the healthcare system to support effective and empathetic care is limited, which suggests that novel and socially innovative approaches to supporting people living with dementia (PLWD) are currently needed. 

Dementia Lab is a design-oriented conference that emphasises how participatory approaches to research can empower PLWD into the future. In contrast to other academic research into dementia, the focus of the conference is to: (a) highlight the stories and lived experience of this disease, (b) emphasize inclusion of people living with dementia in research, (c) improve the quality of lives of PLWD through participatory research methods and (d) create research opportunities for students to engage in dementia-related research in order to build capacity in this field. Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD) has been invited to be the 2020 hosts of the two-day Dementia Lab conference. As this is the first time the conference will be held in North America, there is a unique opportunity for individuals from an array of backgrounds and disciplines, both locally and internationally (including PLWD, the general public, students, professionals in research, design/health/community organizations) to come together in a safe space and discuss ways of supporting and empowering ability , through art/design-based methodologies. 

The goal for Dementia Lab 2020 is to use participatory approaches to support PLWD in re-designing their world, from a health and wellness perspective. Through this, we encourage active dialog by establishing a conference program that blends stakeholder groups (e.g. community organizations, PLWD, practitioners) and disciplines (e.g. design, nursing, long-term care) through collaborative sessions. This supports research collaborations and identifies opportunities for social innovation which enhance, mobilize and scale current initiatives.

Conference Founders: Niels Hendriks, Andrea Wilkinson, LUCA School of Arts, Inter-Actions Research Group

Vancouver Leads: Caylee Raber, Jon Hannan, Lisa Boulton

Design + Research Assistants: Tyler Hawkins, Cassandra Grdovic, Pulina Malcolm

Project Coordinator: Nadia Beyzaei

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