Australia - International Document

Artful: Art and Dementia. A report on a three-year pilot research program


Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Filipovic Y, Heldon M, Nicol G

Year of Publication:
2020

Publisher(s):
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Publication Type:
Report

Abstract:

Artful: Art and Dementia reports on a three-year pilot research programme, which was a research collaboration between Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), the Brain and Mind Centre (University of Sydney) and Dementia Australia.

MCA’s Artful: Art and dementia programme offered people living with dementia and their care partners an intimate and multi-faceted art program structured over a ten-week period at the MCA. Small groups were supported by MCA artist educators to engage in gallery experiences and participate in artmaking sessions, as well as homebased activities. Qualitative research was conducted by the MCA to capture both formal and informal feedback from participants.

Launched in 2016, MCA’s Artful programme coincided with a three-year pilot research project looking at how regular art activity can impact on both wellbeing and markers of neuroplasticity in people living with dementia. Between March 2016 and October 2018, quantitative research was undertaken by researchers from the Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney.

In their pilot feasibility study, the Brain and Mind Centre researchers aimed to determine the suitability of assessment tools and the magnitude of change associated with participating in the Artful: Art and dementia programme in the following areas:

• Cognitive functions, including visuospatial cognitive skills, memory and speed of processing information for the person living with dementia
• Quality of life, wellbeing and mood for the person living with dementia
• Memory and behavioural function, as noted by the caregiver
• Carer burden, and quality of life for care partners

32 participants were enrolled in the pilot randomised controlled trial, with 19 randomised to the control arm and 13 to the intervention arm. Due to the small sample size of this feasibility study, the statistical results remain inconclusive.

Qualitative learnings regarding participation in the Artful programme are positive:

• 100% of respondents found the Artful program to be very beneficial.
• 97.5% of respondents found the Artful program to help improve quality of life.
• 71.1% of respondents found the Artful program to help improve relationships.
• 95% of respondents said they would recommend the program to another person.
• 92% of respondents said they would return to the MCA for other events.



Evidence Type: RCT

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Older Adults

Art Forms: Visual Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Heldon, M., Filipovic, Y., & Nicol, G. (2020) Artful: Art and dementia program: A report on a three-year pilot research program at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia