Public Art As Public Health: Moving Messages of Dementia Inclusion
Physical distancing regulations linked to the COVID-10 pandemic have produced social isolation on a truly global scale. For persons living with Dementia and cognitive health disorders in Durham, the need to combat social isolation and restore human connection and wellbeing today is particularly urgent. Public Art as Public Health: Moving Messages of Dementia Inclusion casts Duke students as an interdisciplinary arts research team engaged in the co-creation of environmental, digital, and participatory art and public storytelling alongside community organizational partners from Dementia Inclusive Durham (DID). Working alongside Duke Professor Sarah Wilbur (Dance), interdisciplinary artist Brittany J. Green and facilitators from TimeSlips Creative Storytelling (www.timeslips.org), students spend six weeks investigating how interdisciplinary art and creative engagement can support Dementia-awareness education and creative care for persons living with Dementia as a city-wide responsibility. After receiving training in Dementia literacy and interdisciplinary arts processes including TimeSlips creative storytelling facilitation methods, members of our team will join weekly creative care gatherings (hosted by phone and/or ZOOM) and build connections with persons with Dementia and their care partners. Archived stories and creative contributions from consenting creative storytelling participants will serve as source material for virtually disseminated art work designed to raise awareness of DID among the Durham public at large. Through direct engagement with persons living with Dementia and their care partners, our Story+ team joins this ambitious city-wide effort to build a Creative Community of Care and to declare Durham a Dementia-friendly, Dementia-capable city by 2023.
Our project partners embrace the fundamental creativity and cultural values of all students as assets for arts based research. Given the social distancing challenges of the proposed public engagement, we are particularly excited to enlist students with skills or interests in learning and applying visual arts and design, performing arts and writing in the virtual realm. This Story+ project is particularly suited for students whose research interests and experiences span the arts, US health policy, and cross-sector community-based public health and cultural development.
Sarah Wilbur, Ph.D., M.F.A., Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke Dance Program
Brittany J. Green, PhD Candidate Music