Born out of the Dementia and Imagination UK-wide research study, Doris and Ivor are fictional characters inspired by the humour that research artist Carol Hanson witnessed at Dementia and Imagination art groups.
The Dementia and Imagination project is led by Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, which is based at Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences. The research is looking to understand how art may help people living with dementia, their relatives, carers and communities. The study has worked locally with Denbighshire County Council Arts Service to run art groups for people living with dementia who are still living at home.
Dr Teri Howson who is one of the study’s researchers said: “This newest installation is a fantastic way to share Carol’s art work with the community in Rhyl which inspired her and where people have been involved in the research. We hope that the exhibition will stimulate discussion and challenge perceptions of people living with memory difficulties”.
Carol is a designer and animator based in Cheshire. She has been observing some of the Dementia and Imagination art sessions with participants living with dementia in North Wales. Carol has used her illustrative style to create a number of art installations about the project.
Carol said: “This will be a static cartoon installation during day-light hours but will come to life with animation on Mondays through to Saturdays, from dusk until 10pm. Taking inspiration from the humour and artwork of the participants of the study, it will be constructed from unloved paper and packaging, mixed with labels, artist canvases and animation and will form Doris and Ivor’s ‘bungalow’, inviting people to look into their world and see those with dementia in a new light.
“The Research started in Rhyl because the first Dementia and Imagination session I was sitting in on was held in one of the rooms within Rhyl library. What I thought was going to be a very sad day was very uplifting and heart-warming. It was full of laughter and it was this sense of fun, Rhyl’s traditional association with having a good time and of course our British sea-side humour that led me to want to use humour to start conversation on this seriously unfunny condition. I wanted people to see the positive rather than the negative in those people and things we label as having ‘had their day’. I am thus delighted to be part of any regeneration in Rhyl as I met some very real and inspiring characters here . They proved that dementia does not mean the loss of your funny bones or the desire to still want to be a valued part of the community.”
The Doris and Ivor project will be travelling to The Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal in October. Before that Doris and Ivor’s cartoon front room will be the setting for the installation ‘Number 3, Muddle Street’. It will be found in Einstein’s Garden at The Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons in August and will see Carol and team members from the Dementia and Imagination project share results of the project as well as dispel misconceptions about dementia.