An art gallery intervention for dementia care

Tischler, V., Camic, Paul M. and Pearman, C. (2012) An art gallery intervention for dementia care. In: The 4th Qualitative Research on Mental Health Conference, 3-5 July 2012, University of Nottingham.

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The prevalence of dementia in the UK continues to rise with our growing elderly population. Exploring the value of alternative routes of care alongside traditional medical methods is of increasing importance.


Despite recent research into the impact of art on quality of life and wellbeing of people with dementia (PWD), further evidence exploring the impact on PWD and their family carers (FC) is crucial in establishing it as a viable community-based therapeutic option.


This qualitative comparative study explored the viability of delivering an arts intervention at two art galleries (Nottingham Contemporary and Dulwich Picture Gallery) in England for people with mild to moderate dementia and their FC.


14 volunteer pairs (people with mild-moderate dementia and their family carers) were recruited via the Alzheimer’s Society, the Extra Care Trust and Age Concern across the two study sites. They were invited to attend eight two-hour sessions at the art gallery where they participated in art-viewing, art-making and handling material objects. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes from written observations, audio recording and semi-structured interviews.


Although results are continuing to be analysed, the viability of delivering an 8 week community-based arts intervention for this population at two different types of art galleries was clearly established. Preliminary themes emerging from early stage analysis suggest that the interventions decreased social isolation, improved mood, and increased communication between the pairs within and outside the sessions.


Delivering a complex arts intervention for PWD and FC in the setting of an art gallery can help to increase a sense of social inclusion for this population through ‘normalising’ the experience of dementia by offering non-clinical programmes in the community. These findings build on an increasing body of evidence, which suggests that arts interventions improve quality of life and well-being for PWD and FC. Future research should explore these findings in a larger sample and investigate ways to make such interventions sustainable.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0076.5 Psychology research
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N0400 Art museums, galleries, etc.
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0512 Psychopathology. Mental disorders > RC0521 Dementia
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Prof Paul M Camic
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2013 16:50
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2015 09:59

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00