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Art and science unite to understand dementia

A new art project is exploring therapeutic soundscapes for the benefit of people with dementia, while giving health professionals and loved ones an insight into their world.
Sound has the ability to inspire strong reminiscent memories and emotions.
Sound has the ability to inspire strong reminiscent memories and emotions.

The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) is teaming with Tasmanian artist, Jane Baker, on a project exploring the benefits of introducing virtual soundscapes to people with dementia.

Ms Baker has been awarded a Synapse Scholarship from the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) to support her creative partnership with the scientists at the Wicking Centre through a residency program.

"We are using sound, which has the ability to inspire strong reminiscent memories and emotions," Ms Baker says. "Reminiscence therapy has been used widely in the aged care industry to fulfil the emotional and engagement needs of people with dementia, whose short term memory is compromised.

"This project will offer a revolutionary new medium with 'era-appropriate' reminiscent soundscapes, especially for those high needs people living in aurally restricted environments," Ms Baker says.

"I am also very excited to see how the soundscapes come to life through collaboration with dementia sufferers, scientists and professors."

Professor Andrew Robinson, Wicking Centre co-director, says: "We are very excited to have a sound artist, like Ms Baker, working with our researchers and seeing how this may benefit people with dementia."

The Wicking Centre is at the forefront of translational research and support for issues confronting people with dementia and their carers. More than 30 projects are being carried out in Tasmania and internationally.

Learn more about Jane Baker's ‘Macrosounds of Microscapes’ project or call (03) 6226 4213.

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