arts and health dementia Exhibitions

Dementia and Imagination Exhibition

Join us at The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster for the preview of this exhibition, a result of Dementia and Imagination. This large-scale national research study, led by Bangor University, explored the impacts of arts-based interventions on people with dementia, their families, carers and communities. 

Copy of Dukes Invitation


The artworks made by participants have been co-curated by artists from major gallery, Nottingham Contemporary, and study researchers.  Dr Gill Windle was the study’s Principle Investigator, and the study protocol and methodology is published and freely available in the British Medical Journal, BMJ Open. Dr Windle now contributes to the pioneering work of Created Out of Mind, a team aiming to explore, challenge and shape perceptions and understanding of dementias through science and the creative arts. This two-year Wellcome Trust residency is an indication of the growing interest in the role of the arts in dementia care. 

For three years I was one of three Lead Researchers on the study, employed by Arts for Health at MMU and working with Derbyshire Community Health Services and artists from Nottingham Contemporary to deliver the intervention. The intervention artists Gillian Brent and Joanna Dacombe and I co-curated this exhibition of images and stories, and we hoped to inspire reflection and insight into the experience of living with dementia.

Public Perceptions of Dementia: The Crooked Spire to the Dukes

Dementia and Imagination exhibition in conjunction with Chesterfield's famous Crooked Spire

In 2015 this exhibition was shown at the iconic ‘Crooked Spire’, or St Mary’s Church in Chesterfield. Chesterfield is where I went to school and lived until I was 18, and returned more than ten years later to work with local families and healthcare staff.

Throughout the exhibition, we collected public opinion and were delighted to read that some people had been “taken aback” at what they discovered. Many people provided moving feedback about their experience of the exhibition.

I’m so pleased that the exhibition will be available to view once again, hosted in my current hometown of Lancaster, until 9th September. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at the preview!

The Dukes opened in 1971 and is the only building-based professional producing theatre in Lancashire. Each year it hosts the the biggest walkabout theatre event in the UK and is funded by the Arts Council and County Council.

Join us at the Dukes on Monday 14th August at 6pm for the Dukes preview. Enjoy drinks and nibbles and meet people also interested in the arts, dementia, and wider arts and health topics.

The preview will be followed by network drinks for the Arts Health Early Career Researchers Network.

Page 2 JPEG Dukes Invitation

Further Information

If you would like to know more about the study, please visit our website.

As well as academic papers, the team have produced a free and downloadable Handbook aimed at people working with people with dementia using the arts.


You can hear our Principle Investigator Dr Gill Windle discuss our aims at the outset of the Dementia and Imagination study here:

I'm a British clinical psychologist with a research background. I manage the Greater Manchester i-THRIVE Arts, Culture and Mental Health Programme, part of the national transformation of children's services. I also have an NHS clinical role in Lancaster and Morecambe working with children, young people and families (CAMHS). I began this blog in 2017 to record a WCMT Travelling Fellowship, from a research role at Arts for Health, Manchester Metropolitan University. I began clinical psychology training (DCLinPsy, Lancaster) in 2010, and studied the role of creativity in bipolar disorder, because of the known links, and partly due to my own experiences of creatively managing extremes of mood in adolescence and throughout my 20s. I have worked in several university psychology research departments including Manchester University in suicide prevention, the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University (notable for service user expertise), and on the Dementia & Imagination research programme.

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