To coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day, we ran a screen printing workshop at Kentish Town Health Centre as part of Reimagining Dementia’s ‘Taking it to the Streets’ programme, an international series of activities to change the way we look at dementia.
This project couldn’t of happened without the dedication of Kate White, a dementia activist and member of Reimagining Dementia, who we first met during an event organised by Seiwa Cunningham from the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), regarding the Dementia Venues Charter. Kate is also a trustee at the West Hampstead Community Centre, where we also run a memory cafe. Through her own lived experience Kate has developed a passion for reducing the stigma around dementia – and we saw this screen printing workshop as an opportunity to address just that.
Screen printing has a long standing connection with the act of protest, therefore we felt it was an appropriate medium to explore ideas of change and standing up for what we believe in. We assembled a group of 10 people living with dementia alongside their carers, at a regular meeting spot for one of our other groups, at the Kentish Town Health Centre. Utilising a pre-exposed screen with the Reimagining Dementia logo, we enabled people to create monoprints, learning the process of screen printing while discussing everyone’s lived experience of how dementia is perceived and how we can look at it differently.
Most participants did not know each other, but this did not deter a high level of enthusiasm from the start. Though we had a strong focus on the art itself, the natural ebbs and flows of the participants direct involvement made plenty of time for exchanges connected to experiences of living with dementia. The workshop lasted nearly 3-hours, but the combination of drinks and refreshments created a safe place for everyone to first feel comfortable and then express themselves when confident enough.
Following our screen printing workshop we displayed the prints at Swiss Cottage Library, where we invited the participants and companions to view the work and listen to live music from 100 Strings, performing their Indian Ragas Full Circle album. You can buy the album here.
You can read more about the event at Swiss Cottage Library in this article by the Camden New Journal.