D.A.S. Dementia. Arts. Society.

How can we integrate the potentials of arts-based research into ongoing efforts to meet the challenges which dementia brings to our societies? The pivotal hypothesis of the research project is that targeted art and design interventions can change society’s approach to dementia and improve the individual situations of people with dementia and their caregivers.

Around the world there will be a new case of dementia every three seconds. 50 million people are currently living with dementia worldwide. The umbrella term “dementia” describes a chronic disease of the brain in which a gradual deterioration of cognitive, emotional and social skills occurs. Ordinary tasks such as shopping and running errands, but also travelling to unknown places, usually become exceedingly difficult for people with dementia. Memory loss is accompanied by visual and hearing impairment. This often leads to a complete withdrawal from society so as to avoid both rejection and embarrassment.

Since 2009 the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has provided funding for artistic research in Austria (PEEK). Dementia. Arts. Society. (AR366-G24) was awarded funding in 2016 with the objective of instigating art and design strategies that could positively change both the public perception of dementia and the individual circumstances of people with dementia as well as their caregivers. Where social policies, therapies, care and medicine reach their limits, art and design strategies aim to open up new perspectives for people living with dementia in regard to their own capabilities and their situation within the social environment.

The exhibition Dementia. Arts. Society. at the Angewandte Innovation Laboratory (AIL) Vienna (09.01.2019 - 28.01.2019) focused on presenting insights into three years of research, findings, methods and techniques and making them accessible to the general public. Finding new forms of dealing with the challenges that arise with dementia, joining synergies, connecting people with and without dementia and finding a common language of understanding and togetherness built the core of an extensive supporting program: Workshops for people with and without dementia, for caregivers, relatives and people interested in the topic, performances and interactive guided tours made the work and findings of the research team graspable and opened up possibilities for lively exchange, discussions and networking.



Ruth Mateus-Berr (PL)
Cornelia Bast
Christina May Yan Carli
Antonia Eggeling
Elisabeth Haid
Pia Scharler
Tatia Skhirtladze