Dementia, Arts and Wellbeing Network (DAWN)
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Dementia, Arts and Wellbeing Network (DAWN)

Western society is being altered significantly by the growing prevalence of the incurable, degenerative group of disorders known as dementia, which will affect 1million in the UK by 2025.

Our expectations of old age are overshadowed by the probability of progressive memory loss, families are under pressure to support frail older members in the community, while health and social care services worldwide are struggling to meet the challenge of unprecedented numbers of people living with memory loss.

The issues thrown up by this phenomenon have implications for scholars in the Arts and Humanities, as well as in the Social Sciences and Medicine, and the Dementia and Wellbeing Network (DAWN) will address one facet of dementia where the interests of many academics from different disciplines converge: the use of the visual and performing arts to promote wellbeing in dementia.

Image: Card by Emma and participants


What participants said about the workshops

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To advance knowledge about the arts, wellbeing and dementia through:

  • listening to people with dementia
  • gathering tacit knowledge from practitioners
  • integrating diverse academic perspectives and theories
  • generating outputs intended to inspire a generation of arts practitioners and researchers
  • disseminating our work to the wider public


Co-production with artists and people with dementia are fundamental features of the network.

We will organise four, two-day workshops in Nottingham, each focusing on a different art form: music, dance, theatre and visual art.

Each workshop will be organised by two to three network members with some knowledge about the topic, in consultation with the group of people with dementia.

Full participation of people with dementia will be promoted by the appointment of a network co-ordinator with specific responsibility and expertise in this area.

Prior preparation and carefully-structured workshops will help to enable full involvement of people with lived experience.

Dialogue and debate will be fostered throughout the workshops.

Reflection and feedback on the inputs will be captured (with consent) by digitally recording the discussion sessions and having two rapporteurs at all times (one a person with lived experience).

Principal Investigators


DAWN is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, grant number AH/N00650X/1.

Partner organisations

Useful links

Inside Out of Mind screenings

Inside Out of Mind

Inside Out of Mind is not currently touring, a live recording of the acclaimed theatre production is a cost-effective means of delivering powerful messages about dementia care to audiences working in hospital settings or residential care. The recording is available to hire on DVD or Blu-ray and is supported by facilitated discussion and an online workbook. Recordings have already reached more than 1,500 people. The recording was commissioned with funding from the University of Nottingham, and was filmed in production at Lakeside Arts.



Dementia, Arts and Wellbeing Network (DAWN)

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 7307