I first met James McKillop back in 2001, not long before the publication of his book, ‘Opening Shutters, Opening Minds’. We shared a love of photography and had a similar sense of humour. It was James who introduced me to the Scottish Dementia Working Group (or Working Party as it was called then). I was inspired by their philosophy, by their work and what they had achieved in a relatively short time but at the same time remember feeling very challenged as an occupational therapist to why we were not learning from this in other areas of practice.
It was the Scottish Dementia working group who inspired the development of the supported self-management programme: Journeying through Dementia and in 2004 when the foundations of the research began, they generously shared insights in relation to what a programme aimed at people at the beginning of their dementia journey would find helpful, how the group should be facilitated. Most importantly they reiterated its key focus: helping individuals living with dementia to continue to do the things they enjoyed and which bring meaning for as long as possible.
Eighteen years after that first meeting with James I am excited that Journeying through Dementia is officially coming home to Scotland!! People with dementia have continued to shape and craft the intervention through a programme of research spanning over a decade. Its most recent iteration is the focus of a large study led by Professor Gail Mountain at Bradford University.
Two demonstrator sites: one in Aberdeen and one in Fife will be piloting the intervention and a set of materials that have been co-produced with people with dementia and with occupational therapists from these sites. We will use this blog to keep you up to date with our progress, reflections and learning so please watch this space.
You can hear me speak at an event in Dunfermline in February 2018, beginning to share the work in Scotland https://vimeo.com/288130479/f0e7b24685
Dr Claire Craig
Reader in Design and Creative Practice in Health and Co-Director of Lab4Living
Art & Design Research Centre,
Sheffield Hallam University