The Role of Reminiscence Arts in the Lives of Care Home Residents Living with Dementia

Jayne Lloyd

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis explores the role of Reminiscence Arts in the lives of care home residents living with dementia. The practice-based PhD critically engages with Reminiscence Arts and Dementia Care: Impact on Quality of Life (RADIQL). RADIQL was a three-year programme of creative activities for care home residents living with dementia which ran from 2012 to 2015. It was designed and led by Age Exchange Theatre Trust and funded by Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity.

The researcher developed practice-based research projects inspired by observations of Age Exchange’s Reminiscence Arts sessions. These investigated how reminiscence and a range of art forms were combined in creative projects with care home residents living with dementia. Drawing on theories of affective, material and social experiences of place from the fields of geography, anthropology and the arts, particular attention is paid to experiences of the care home environment. The role of Reminiscence Arts in responding to the sensory and experiential deficiencies of the residential care environment is analysed along with the dialogue the sessions create with other geographical locations and temporalities. Drawing on studies from the fields of health and social care, the thesis discusses the complexities of attempting to understand and engage with another person’s experience of place, particularly when they are living with dementia.

The thesis proposes that Reminiscence Arts can offer an important creative response to understanding and enhancing the personal and social lives of people living with dementia that was missing in the care home provision that was researched. The thesis argues that through their arts practices artists develop ways of perceiving and engaging with the world that can equip them to respond to, communicate about and shift perceptions of experiences of dementia. The reciprocity with which artists engage with care home residents living with dementia has the potential to extend approaches to both dementia care and socially engaged arts practices.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Nicholson, Helen, Supervisor
  • Brodzinski, Emma, Advisor
Award date1 Jan 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


  • Dementia, arts, reminiscence

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