The Poetry of Dementia

The Poetry of Dementia exhibition featured fragments of poetry created by residents of Isle of Wight care homes during writing workshops led by Independent Arts practitioners, which were matched with images by Kate Ball to create a series of beautiful panels. These went on display in the homes for residents, staff and visitors to enjoy.

Independent Arts brought the work to the wider public in exhibitions at:

  • Lord Louis Library, Orchard Street, Newport, from 25th October to 23rd November 2017
  • Full Circle restaurant at St Mary's Hospital, Newport, from 28th November 2017

View the gallery

To view the exhibition panels click on the image below to scroll through, or click on the thumbnails.


Background to the exhibition

In 2016-17 Independent Arts ran a series of creative writing workshops in six residential homes across the island. The work shown in this exhibition has been selected from the body of writing that came from those workshops. Creative writing is an expressive medium particularly suited to those in long term residential settings and living with dementia. The project involved supported sessions with qualified practitioners who mediated ideas and imaginative expression through shared discussion to create beautiful pieces of poetry.

Participants listened to poetry and music and worked with a collection of tactile and visual resourses. In putting this exhibition together we wanted to display participants' contributions with sensitivity and dignity. Text is paired with specially created images, many from island locations, which aims to interpret, rather than simply illustrate, their voices.

What we learned from working with these groups in particular is that, even under the onslaught of a debilitating cognitive illness such as dementia, the human spirit retains an enduring ability for profound self-expression, and that where vocabulary may be lost, the mind still searches and seeks out beautiful ways to express itself creatively, and poignantly.

Human beings never lose the joy of language. These panels are full of invention, rhyme and curious pairings of words that create whole new worlds of meaning populated by strange 'tilseys' and 'mowbys', where people are stricken with 'mogity bogity' and where we first encountered the word 'pigifee'!


Thank you!

A big thank you to Howden's Joinery for supplying materials for our new exhibition stands, and to Cowes Moovers for helping us install our Poetry of Dementia exhibition at Lord Louis Library (Autumn 2017).