Image shown: 'Pat' working with clay

The 9th International Dementia Conference, organised by Sonas apc, will take place at Citywest Hotel in Dublin on 15 and 16 May 2017 on the theme of Building Knowledge, Leadership and Communities. The programme will include presentations on arts initiatives, a practical workshop with Engaging Activities and a Masterclass Day on Design and Dementia with Professor Richard Fleming and architect Tom Grey.

Dementia, Creativity and the Acute Patient’s Voice

On the main conference day on 15 May, artist Caroline Schofield and WHAT assistant curator Katriina Bent will present on ‘Dementia, Creativity and the Acute Patient’s Voice’ as part of the Parallel Session on psycho-social approaches. Caroline was artist-in-residence with the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) in 2016. She worked in Medical 5, a ward with a significant number of patients with dementia, in University Hospital Waterford for six months.

This collaborative project comprised of multiple approaches in giving stimulation to patients with dementia. The arts the patients participated in included textile work, clay, painting and photography. Other activities included reminiscence, visits of a therapy dog, newspaper reading and a tea party for patients, visitors and staff.

A pilot project of activation for six weeks performed by WHAT assistant curator Katriina Bent coincided with the residency, leading into novel patient and process-led ways of working through this collaboration and giving the patients a voice and an expression beyond the medical model.

The project was supported by the multidisciplinary Dementia Interest Group of which both the artist and curator were part of. The HSE document ‘This is Me’, a short patient biography designed to aid person-centred care, was rolled out for the first time during this project.

The Parallel Session on psycho-social approaches will also include presentations on a digital life story work app for people with dementia and their carers and Jenny’s Diary – a resource to support conversation with people who have intellectual disabilities and dementia.

Engaging Activities 

Joyce Fitzpatrick and Elizabeth Fitzgerald of Engaging Activities will deliver a practical, interactive workshop on the afternoon of 15 May focusing on the many ways in which hands can be used to maintain muscle tone, stimulate creativity, provide opportunities for meaningful occupation and bring comfort within the context of different stages of dementia.

Design and Dementia: Creating environments that enhance quality of life for people living with dementia

A Masterclass Day on 16 May with Professor Richard Fleming, leading international design and dementia expert, supported by Tom Grey, Architect and Research Fellow, TrinityHaus, Trinity College Dublin.

This masterclass will include an exploration of the key principles of enabling environments for people with dementia, how the built environment can impact on a person’s quality of life, creating the perfect day and where to get tools and resources to support your work.

Professor Richard Fleming will also speak on the main conference day on ‘Design and Dementia: Principles, practices and the Australian experience.’


View the full programme here:

Limited places are currently available. For booking information visit


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