The Certification-D Final with the Dementia Lab Conference 2022 took place on the 20, 21 and 22 September 2022 and was hosted by the LUCA School of Arts, Inter-actions Research Group with support by the University of Leuven (KULeuven) Faculty of Arts.
Dementia Lab Conference
This year's Dementia Lab Conference 2022 provided three days of engaging discussions, networking with international colleagues, and inspiring stories from people with dementia, their carers, and companies developing products on the frontlines. As the number of people with dementia continues to increase worldwide, designers, educators, companies, and carers are continuously presented with new challenges. Design can help to harness the power of technology, services, environments, and engagements to alleviate these challenges, and contribute to the quality of life, care, and wellbeing of people living with dementia. With a mix of keynotes, lectures, workshops, and exploratory exhibitions, the conference gave about 150 participants the opportunity to engage on the topic of design for people with dementia.
The first keynote was presented by Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson (New York, USA) after a screening of her movie ‘Dick Johnson is Dead’, to discuss the role of film-making in caring for/about people with dementia. The second keynote by Cormac Stanford (London, UK), Marketing Director of Relish, talked about the importance of truly understanding the individual needs of those with dementia to design products that strongly impact lives for the better and how to balance designing for improving lives with commercial needs.
The conference was hosted by the LUCA School of Arts, Inter-actions Research Group with support from the University of Leuven (KULeuven) Faculty of Arts and took place in one of Belgium’s most historic cities and one of Europe’s oldest universities, Leuven.
This edition of the Dementia Lab Conference was in collaboration with the final conference of the European Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project Certification-D which has, for the past four years, been exploring means to certify technological products for People with Dementia and in turn support small to medium businesses in innovation and business growth.
Final Conference Certification-D
This edition of the Dementia Lab Conference was in collaboration with the final conference of the European Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project Certification-D. In the Certification-D project, partners from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands are working on a certification procedure for technical products to support people with dementia. In recent years, the range of technical products to support people with dementia has grown considerably and certification of products is needed to support companies in business growth and identify products that match the needs of the users.
During the Dementia Lab Conference, the Certification-D project was disseminated through an exploratory exhibition, lectures presenting the results of the project and future plans, an open session in which companies involved in the project could present their products and ask questions, and a roundtable with associated partners to fuel the project. The final conference of the Certification-D project reached a large network of designers, educators, students, companies, carers, and people with dementia and provided opportunities for the future out roll of the project.
‘Talking about things’ exhibition
On the second day of the Dementia Lab Conference, the ‘Talking about things’ exhibition officially opened. The Talking About Things exhibition sheds light on what an object can mean to a person with dementia. Certain objects in the environment of the person with dementia can provide a means to access certain memories, their own identity, or habits they seem to have quietly forgotten. Remarkable stories about the meaning of certain objects in the lives of people with dementia were collected and illustrator Catherine Stones translated these stories into illustrations. The illustrations show elements of each story, sometimes quite abstract and at other times explicit. While walking through the center of Leuven, people will find the illustrations on shop windows and try to discover which elements of the story they recognize in the illustrations.
Not only does the exhibition show stories about, for, and by people with dementia, but conversation starter kits, including carefully selected questions and objects, were developed to support the start of a meaningful conversation and enable activities for self-expression as well as a sense of engagement with people with dementia.
Talking about things is a project by the LUCA School of Arts, the Flanders Centre of expertise on Dementia, the Regional Center of Expertise MEMO, VVSG, and the University of Leuven. With support from the Flemish Government, Flanders is Care and the City of Leuven. The project Talking About Things was inspired by an exhibition model developed by the Enable Foundation and will travel around Belgium, Hong Kong, and other parts of the world to make people aware of the impact of objects on the lives of people with dementia.
For more information on the ‘Talking about things’ exhibition: www.onthoumens.be/sprekende-objecten