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Reframing dementia: Artistic investigation into the process of co-creating traditional and digital sculpture

Chauhan, Sumita (2018) Reframing dementia: Artistic investigation into the process of co-creating traditional and digital sculpture. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:72256)

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Sculpture generally brings out in its form not just the self-expression of the artist but also the transformative qualities through which it influences our senses and communicates meanings to others. The physical experience of sculpture is as significant as its process of making, irrespective of the fact that the artwork may be recognised as an art object or just as an experience. As an artist-researcher, I explored the imaginative thinking and creative potential of people with dementia by engaging them in viewing, handling and making sculptures using both traditional and digital methods. In the shared space of a group setting, sculpture became their source of communication, reflection and stimulation despite the cognitive, visual and perceptual difficulties commonly experienced in this condition. My involvement in co-creating sculptures with the participants gave them direction to release self-initiated ideas while simultaneously motivating me to visualise my creations with a new emotional and empathic awareness.

The interplay between academic research and the artistic co-creative activity involved in sculpture making processes formed the basis of my artistic and conceptual enquiry engaging with people with mild dementia. My sculptures no longer remained a result of a conscious goal to achieve by following a particular process of sculpture-making; they are now entirely intuitive and reflective of what I felt in the company of my participants with dementia. Shared moments and conversational exchanges became a metaphor for my creations using a combination of traditional and digital methods.

This research presents the spatial and perceptual enquiry of sculptures displayed in two public exhibitions which had different approaches. Depending on the receptivity of the viewers the exhibitions helped to gain a better understanding of perception of dementia and their reactions to the sculptures created by people with dementia and by me. Viewers' personal involvement with people with dementia and their previous knowledge of dementia showed significant influence on their preference for the forms, materials and process used regardless of the use of traditional or digital methods. Their experiences oscillated between empathic attitude towards the participants' growing incapability and appreciation of their creative strength, which they found to be unique, meaningful and expressive.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Bobrowicz, Ania
Uncontrolled keywords: Sculpture, Creativity, Dementia, Person-centred approach, Perception
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Engineering and Digital Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2019 17:10 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 03:55 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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