Below is an outline of many of the projects that have been run in the development of the designed with dementia project. Here you can get a feel for how the projhect has developed and what has been acheived.
Redesign Sundays Workshops 1 and 2
The project developed from an invitation to meet and work with a network in Edinburgh who met-up every couple of months. The meetings usually involved events for carers and events for people living with dementia as well as shared meetings and a lunch. During the initial workshop the people living with dementia were invited to discuss what they would like to see changed, improved, altered and fixed in the world. They were also asked to consider what they might bring back given half a chance. The group split into smaller units for discussion where they filled their answers in on the back of a postcard. They then fed their ideas back into the bigger group. Many issues and ideas were generated but the most agreed concept that came from this brainstorming was to Redesign Sunday’s. Rules for what must occur formed as were rules on what was to be banned. The concept led to much humour and discussion but a real desire to make Sunday feel different from every other day. From this session a brief was generated.
During the lunch break the carers learned of the discussion at which point it was suggested by the people living with dementia that they could be included in the next workshop. In the second workshop the larger group of 30 people took part in a dementia café brainstorm where table cloths were laid out with the express intent to have imagery stuck to them and ideas or insights scribbled all over them. From this session a clearer picture emerged of what might be done. Three concrete concepts were proposed one of which has been the feature of an application for funding. The project continues to be investigated. Though some of the commentaries and insights have been translated into some of the designed with dementia products.
The Billy Connolly Fabrics Visits and Workshops 1 and 2
Developed from initial street walks to see the 75BC Murals in Glasgow, followed by a visit to the Tramway in Glasgow to see the work of the Artist Tschabalala Self and the 75BC Exhibition at the People’s Palace also in Glassgow. Here the participants were given cameras and collected created photographs of what they had seen selecting what they thought was appealing, interesting or poking their interest. As the project developed the collections shaped the focus of creative workshops that would respond to the subject matter of Billy Connolly and the processes of Tschabalala Self. Using the accessible approach of collaging in the style of Self the group created their visions of Connolly (Workshop 1). The result was an assortment of imagery that was arranged into 12 fabric design propositions. These were then whittled down through a selection process that included reviewing and selecting scales of reproduction to a production set of 4 (Workshop 2). The selection was supposed to be for 3 designs, however, the group insisted there should be 4. The designs were digitally printed by BeFab BeCreative in Edinburgh on cotton drill.
The Billy Connolly Fabrics Workshop 3
Following discussions about how the new fabrics might be used the group settled on the domestic setting and proposed what kind of products the designs might be used on. From the suggestions that were made a number of laser-cut frames were developed that would allow the co-design participants to select and arrange what patterns would be applied in what manner and where. These allowed a collection to be developed.
The Billy Connolly Fabrics Workshop 4
The group were introduced to the idea of prototypes which the created in the form of cushions. Here people living with dementia chose the fabrics they wanted to work with, cushion backs and arrangements, drew-up patterns and cut them. Carers involved in supporting these actions then pinned the rough designs and tested them on cushion pads. The resultant nets were then taken away to be sewn up. These prototypes are now used on a daily basis in the Alzheimer Resource Centre in Bridgeton, Glasgow. These have been replicated in the pop-up shop designed with dementia. Many of the other concepts have also been taken away and developed as exhibition pieces, prototypes and products. All of which have been designed by somebody living with dementia.
INVITATION RECEIVED TO EXHIBIT THE PATTERNS AND DESIGNS IN LANCASTER
Burns Printing Workshop
Based on the Scottish Bards national day 31stJanuary the group explored ideas of burns and produced prints from a selection of vinyl cut stamps. The stamps were exploratory testers to see how the group might react to and adapt them but that allowed for open compositions. The toolkit developed in the making of these Burns pieces became the central process for public participation in the Lancaster Exhibition. The team of people living with dementia refined how it was to be made, the materials, the structures and the method for use.
LANCASTER EXHIBITION ALLOWED OVER 200 MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO VIEW THE DESIGNS, 96 OF WHOM WERE INSPIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN MAKING THEIR OWN PRODUCT
Using the kit developed in the Burns workshops, but tailored for Lancaster, public participants ranged from 1 to 93 engaged in printing their own tea towels and cushions. There were some people living with dementia in attendance and who had travelled specifically to the event.
Riverside Museum Postcards Workshop
Thinking about travel and transportation the group used their visit to the Riverside Museum in Glasgow to talk about their favourite trip. These were narrated through tasks that involved filling in a perfect day travel ticket and through processes of selecting and collaging how they would travel and where they would go. They openly discussed what these trips would look like and notes were added to the imagery they had created. These were translated in design software on a computer resulting in a set of 5 postcards.
Stained-glass Light Inspired by Mackintosh’s Scotland Street School
At the time the group visited the Scotland Street Museum in Glasgow the Glasgow School of Art had just had its second and most disastrous fire. Much of the discussion had developed around Mackintosh and his influence on a range of design practices including products and stained-glass. In response to the visit it Was decided we would explore a group collaborative lighting project where the outcome would be a lamp in the style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The participants cut windows into existing designs in order to apply lighting gels that would highlight details within Mackintosh’s designs. Each participant designed a side of the cube like structure including the underside.
Stained Glass Window for Glasgow
Developed following visits to St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow, the Scotland Street Museum and the Mitchell Library, Glasgow the group started work on creating a proposal for a Stained-glass Window for Glasgow. Collaging acetate printed scenes and landmarks the group composed an arrangement that would fit a backlit panel. Then working in teams two versions of the image were painted to give them colour. By intervention of one of the group members it was realised that these designs worked best when they were overlaid on each other making one united design.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Workshop
A number of ideas based on the Floating Heads installation at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum were to be explored in this workshop. Most of which got ripped up and thrown out the window the moment one of the participants decided to start drawing her versions of the faces of the floating heads on plates that were in the bag of stuff that is always brought to these workshops. Quickly the other participants got on board with doing their versions of the same thing. 4 of these were selected to become a set. The importance of this process was to celebrate and embrace the unexpected that is often apparent within design processes. The control in all of the workshops rests with the co-designers who are living with dementia and as such allows for creative design explorations.
Table Top Gardens Workshops 1, 2, 3 and 4
The first two workshops allowed the participants to undertake photographic investigations of garden spaces in Glasgow here each participant wandered around with their cameras documenting what was important or interesting to them. Workshop 1 was at the Tramway’s Secret Garden, a small modern garden arranged in contemporary stylised theming. Workshop 2 was at Pollock Park and House a grand former estate which has more historic gardens arranged in the style of their time. Workshop 3 introduced a stage of planning where the group designed their own miniaturised table top gardens influenced by what they had photographed and supported with contemporary gardening magazines. Workshop 4 saw those designs translated into physical table top gardens.
Following on from the Stained Glass Window for Glasgow and the Table-top Gardens projects the sign for the Alzheimer Scotland Allotment at Bellahouston Park came from a brief set by the project participants. Initially they had suggested that this be a design that I undertook. But as we have managed to create beautiful and wonderful outcomes by working together throughout the project it was agreed that we undertake this final project together. Their brief was that any light used must be solar powered and that the sign should be robust and significant. Originally expected to be produced in metal, material explorations have lead to the selection of concrete and coloured glass. Material explorations included making moulds to explore the textural quality of the concrete. The final design of the sign is now in production.
Japanese Photographs artwork and the new photographic collection being generated at Glasgow Resource Centre Bridgeton.
Working with a person living with dementia we have recently created a new opportunity at the Resource Centre. Gordon the collaborator and driver of this project is conducting his own scanning workshops each Monday. He is collecting truly unique life event images from his own network in order to create a new artwork and book. Through the process so far emotive and memory triggering outcomes have created a truly wonderful experience. In the artwork displayed above recolouring of particular photos have been undertaken in response to the conversations we have had.