Story+ 2021 | Public Art As Public Health: Moving Messages of Dementia Inclusion

Story+ 2021 | Public Art As Public Health: Moving Messages of Dementia Inclusion

Learn more about Story+:

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 (, students spent 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. They generating multiple narratives of dementia inclusion and stitching them together in the form of a digital workbook prototype focused on hailing people who do not live with dementia or cognitive challenges to consider their role in destigmatizing this condition and fostering cultures of inclusion in Durham and North Carolina through critical acts of listening, learning, and care.

About Dementia Inclusive Durham— DID was our community partner organization, organizers united by the vision of Durham as a place where persons living with dementia are fully valued and supported in their full flourishing. DID volunteers are working with a wide range of local organizations (senior centers, museums, faith based communities, dementia-service organizations, and universities) to make Durham a Dementia-Inclusive city by 2023 by uniting different community sectors and stakeholders and educating them about how to participate in creating cultural understanding around dementia and dismantling its stigmatizing impacts on families.

Check out their Google Slides presentation here:

Story+ is a 6-week summer research experience for Duke undergraduates interested in exploring humanities research approaches (archival research, oral histories, narrative analysis, visual analysis, and more). The program combines research with an emphasis on storytelling for different public audiences. In Story+, students are organized into small project teams and have the opportunity to participate in a flexible mini “curriculum” on research methods and storytelling strategies. Team projects may be led by Duke faculty, Duke librarians, or non-profit organizations, and will be supervised on a day-to-day basis by graduate student mentors.