On the 10th April 2018, Dr Ben Hicks (Psychology Lecturer and ADRC) presented on the graffiti work that was undertaken at the Brooke Mead assisted living facility in Brighton. The event was used to mark the opening of Brooke Mead, a facility with 45 self-contained flats for people with dementia and their care partners, and was attended by the Brighton Mayor and local councillors.
Over the past month, as part of a British Psychological Society funded project, Ben has worked with Dr Shanti Shanker (Psychology Lecturer), Angela El-Zeind (Graffiti Artist) and James Skinner (documentary film maker) to deliver a series of graffiti workshops to residents of Brooke Mead who are living with dementia. The workshops focussed on exploring participants’ sense of ‘self’ and identity since the on-set of dementia and their transition into a new environment. As part of this, they were encouraged to ‘get creative’ by crafting their own stencils, developing their own ‘tag’ (a symbol that is personal to them) and expressing their message on a canvass board using spray cans. A short film documenting the workshops was created as part of the project and was premiered at the opening alongside the residents’ art work.
The art work was warmly received by those attending the event, and informal discussions highlighted the potential that graffiti has for providing a creative platform whereby people with dementia can challenge negative public perceptions of their capabilities. As Brooke Mead continues to fill its rooms with local Brighton residents, they are keen for further graffiti workshops to take place. Boosted by these positive findings, the researchers will use this preliminary data alongside the short film to seek funding for a more substantial project that will examine how graffiti arts can be used as a medium to support identity and social inclusion in people with dementia.
For more details on Brooke Mead please visit: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/brooke-mead-extra-care-housing-scheme-opens