Co-creativity : possibilities for using the arts with people with a dementia

Zeilig, Hannah, West, Julian and Williams, Millie van der Byl (2018) Co-creativity : possibilities for using the arts with people with a dementia. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 19 (2). pp. 135-145. ISSN 1471-7794


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of co-creativity in relation to artistic practice
with people with a dementia. The aim of the discussion is to outline how co-creativity offers fresh
approaches for engaging artists and people with dementia, can contribute to less restrictive
understandings of “creativity” and above all, expand the understanding of people with a dementia as
creative, relational and agential.
Design/methodology/approach – In order to examine current conceptions of co-creativity and to inform
the artistic practice, relevant literature was explored and eight expert interviews were conducted.
The interviews were thematically analysed and are included here.
Findings – This paper consequently demonstrates that improvisation, structure, leadership and
equality are central elements of co-creative processes and outlines how co-creativity can offer fresh
insights into the way in which the arts can engage people with a dementia, the relationship between
creativity and dementia and the transformative potential of the co-creative arts for those living with
a dementia.
Research limitations/implications – The paper discusses some of the difficulties that are inherent a
co-creative approach, including power relations and the limitations of inclusivity. Due to ethical restrictions,
the paper is limited by not including the perspectives of people living with a dementia.
Practical implications – This paper paves the way for future research into co-creative processes in a variety
of different contexts.
Social implications – A more nuanced understanding of co-creativity with people with dementia could
challenge the dominant biomedical and social paradigms that associate “dementia” with irretrievable loss and
decline by creating opportunities for creative agency.
Originality/value – This exploration of co-creativity with people with dementia is the first of its kind and
contributes to the wider understanding of co-creativity and co-creative practice.

[thumbnail of Co-creativity possibilities for using the arts.pdf]
Co-creativity possibilities for using the arts.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (275kB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

View Item