The Imagination Network

The Imagination Network is an innovative creative engagement program that provides opportunities for people with dementia to connect, share their ideas, and engage with the broader community.

Inspired by TimeSlips—a story creation process that replaces the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine—The Imagination Network brings people with dementia together with artists and community members to co-create powerful and inspiring works of art.

Beginning in 2015, the Art Farm and Good Samaritan Christenson Village (a 140-person Care Home in Gibsons, BC) teamed up to collaborate with people with dementia on two creative engagement initiatives.  These included the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl and the Sunnycrest Mall Pop-Up Studio.  During these projects, The Imagination Network hosted a series of creative workshops that involved collage, painting, textiles, dress-up photo booth, shadow puppetry, music, and theatre sports. Youth, children and the broader community were invited to participate and engage with people with dementia to produce and showcase original works of art.  Learn more about these projects on The Imagination Network blog.

Raising the Curtain

The Imagination Network has launched a ground-breaking three-year project – Raising the Curtain – that involves creating a theatrical production that is written, produced and performed by people with dementia in collaboration with professional artists, care givers, and community members. Through a partnership with Douglas College, this project also has an important research component with a goal of identifying ways in which creative engagement improves the lives of people with dementia.

Raising the Curtain has been an in-depth collaboration process that touches all elements of theatre production.  People with dementia have lead and actively participated in a series of creative workshops that have involved mediums including sculpture, mixed-media, spoken word, sound and movement.  These workshops have been transcribed by a research team from Douglas College and the data has been analyzed to identify themes surrounding the experience of dementia. In a third series of workshops we looked deeper at these themes through a creative lens leading up to a final showcase in June 2018. In Spring of 2019 participants will work with professional artists in theme development, script writing, sound design, choreography and theatre production.

Why this is important

We believe that amplifying the voice of people with dementia, and bringing it to the forefront will transform our perception of, interaction with and relationship to aging. It will foster engagement and provide meaningful connections between people with dementia, caregivers and the broader community.

In the emerging field of dementia advocacy, one of its leading voices Kate Swaffer—living through the experience of dementia herself—has coined the term “prescribed disengagement”; once a person has been diagnosed with the illness, they are encouraged to disengage from regular society, to prepare for the inevitable decline in their cognitive abilities.

The Imagination Network aims to challenge this notion. A person with the lived experience of dementia is still creative, still has a story to tell, and still has valuable contributions to make to our world and communities.

The Imagination Network is part of a larger goal of Deer Crossing The Art Farm to include and celebrate the voices of marginalized members of our community.

Special thanks to our 2017 & 2018 Imagination Network partners, sponsors and funders.

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