The Imagination Cafe on tour

Ella Rhodes reports.

A pop-up café which brings together arts, research and information on dementia is set to tour the UK starting this month. The Imagination Café, founded by University of West London Professor of Arts and Health and Head of Dementia Care, Victoria Tischler, will visit Llandudno, London and Edinburgh.

The café, which first appeared in Nottingham last year, features information from Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society as well as art by people with dementia and dementia-friendly food developed by Nourish by Jane Clarke. There will also be music, storytelling and drama activities for people with dementia. It's all underpinned by the research of Tischler and her colleagues at the Universities of Bangor, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Manchester Metropolitan on the Dementia and Imagination research project.

The installation will also provide free training to artists interested in working in dementia care. This is led by artists who also worked on the Dementia and Imagination project in the hope that evidence-based arts activities will be more widely adopted in care settings.

Tischler said her initial drive to create the café came after seeing artwork created by people with dementia as part of the Dementia and Imagination project: ‘The art was not made to be exhibited but some of it is very accomplished and interesting. I thought that if it were framed and exhibited, many people may be surprised that someone with dementia could be creative, producing artwork that is complex, intriguing or even beautiful.’

The Imagination Café will visit MOSTYN in Llandudno from 24 to 28 April, then on to the Menier Gallery in London from 14 to 19 May and the Royal College of Art in Edinburgh in September.

For more information see 

Find more from Victoria Tischler in our archive, particularly last year's appearance for us at Latitude Festival.

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