Using art and social history to inspire people living with memory loss

Using art and social history to inspire people living with memory loss

Using art and social history to inspire people living with memory loss

The Art and Object Engagement program, run by the Australian History Museum and University Art Gallery, in partnership with the Centre for Applied History, has received $41,600 funding from the NSW Government's Liveable Communities Grant scheme.

The program gives people with dementia the opportunity to engage with objects from the past, as well as art, to inspire them to interact socially and stimulate memories and thought.

The funding will go towards expanding the existing innovative and interdisciplinary dementia program to include at-home care participants as well as a support and training program for carers. It will also allow the sessions to be filmed and will support the production of resources including a website and printed guides. The AOE program is unique in its collaboration of contemporary art and social history objects as engagement tools for this audience, and this funding will help expand our community impact and research potential.

Anecdotal evidence shows that engaging with art and history positively impacts the welfare and quality of life of people with dementia, and their carers. This will contribute to the University’s strategic priority of health and resilience and help to deliver research with world changing impact.

As well as contributing to the care of the elderly and their carers providing therapy through art, history and memory-making, the project aims to create historical content using the oral contributions of participants who share their life-stories. This will create knowledge that can be used by diverse stakeholders. The process should allow patients and others to understand the value of their testimonies and significance of their life-stories.

The program will also contribute to cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on the use of the arts in the medical care of the aged that can be used by scholars in history, medicine and psychology and aged care practitioners.

PACE and MRes students in public history, museums studies, psychology, cognitive science and sociology will have opportunities for internships.

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