Artful Dementia Research Lab


The Artful Dementia Research Lab at UiT The Arctic University of Norway conducts research on innovative understandings of ageing and dementia. On the basis of experimental interventions with the creative arts our researchers investigate other ways of living with and relating to dementia, thereby exploring art interventions as a mode of social science knowledge generation. Through developing a new conceptual repertoire, research conducted within the Artful Dementia Research Lab contributes to complementing medical and pharmacological interventions with experimental art interventions that are sensitive to socio-material dimensions of everyday life.


Research activities

carrying out a series of arts interventions (fine arts, music, drama) in everyday life of people with dementia on the basis of a practice-based fieldwork approach

analysing the processes the interventions evoke and inquiring into the on-going research process

applying theoretical approaches of relational aesthetics and material feminisms

developing a theory-methods package from a sociological and artistic perspective

Meet the team

Ann Therese Lotherington

Ann Therese Lotherington is Professor of Sociology and Head of Department at Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Her professional orientation is new material feminist theory and citizenship theory that she has used and developed for research in different empirical settings, most recently related to everyday life of people living with dementia. Her current interest in relational aesthetics and the significance of creativity in people’s lives comes from connections with people in some way afflicted with this disease. The entanglement of the creative arts in everyday life challenge dominant understandings of community and connectivity, and how a life with dementia might be lived, which demands renewed research approaches and new research to be fully understood.


Lilli Mittner
Post doc

Lilli Mittner is trained as a musicologist and practices as a violinist. Currently she holds a postdoc position in feminist art intervention at the University of Tromsø The Arctic University of Norway. Lilli is broadly interested in art making processes and how people create new spaces of possibilities through different perceptions of conventional social practices. In her project she addresses methodological challenges in artists’ practices of working with people living with dementia by diffracting the theoretical basis of art interventions with feminist theory and relational aesthetics. Her research is situated in a broader context of arts-based research and the humanities. Lilli’s scientific background touches upon the fields of history, sociology, pedagogy, anthropology, and psychology of music as well as media and communication studies.


Dragana Lukić
PhD candidate

Dragana Lukić, Art researcher, PhD candidate in Gender Studies at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Dragana is exploring potentials of fine arts for opening up different understandings of dementia and persons with dementia. In her PhD project, Dragana analyses fiction film adaptations and literature that are dealing with dementia as a main issue. In addition, Dragana is responsible for organising individual and group fine arts interventions within and outside of care homes in Tromsø. Dragana has background in painting and gender studies from University of Belgrade and media arts from University of Gothenburg. She has long experience in exhibiting and participating in collaborative arts projects.

Rikke Gürgens Gjærum

Rikke Gürgens Gjærum is Professor in Applied Theatre at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Head of Artic center of welfare and disability research. She is also a Professor II at OsloMet on Master of aesthetic studies. Her professional orientation is on applied arts, gender issues, reminiscence theatre, marginalization processes, and theatre interventions in health institutions. She has developed innovative research designs in different health & cultural settings related to investigating the meaning of aesthetic experiences in people’s everyday life. Her interest in pragmatic aesthetics and the significance of creativity in the lives of people often defined as “marginal groups,” is based on her experience as theater director in the group “Usedvanlig Teater” in Harstad.

Karoline Dalby
PhD candidate

Karoline Dalby, Phd candidate in “Art and Dementia” at The Faculty of Health and Science, UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Karoline is exploring different drama methods at Bergsodden care center for elderly people with dementia. She investigates more specifically how these methods can contribute to new understandings of being-together. Her methods will be developed through intra-actions based on principles of co-creativity and improvisation. Karoline has a masters degree in drama and theatre from Oslomet. Her projects so far focus on empowerment through a combination of different drama techniques inspired by Lecoq and improvisational theatre.

Elina Plucker
Master student

Elina Plucker is a freelance musician and employed as a cultural worker at Bergsodden residential care home in Harstad municipality, Norway. She holds a Bachelor of Culture and Arts, specialising in Music education Metropolia, University of Applied Sciences and a Master in Music, Performance from the The Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg Uni. With her artistic background as a performer and teacher, Elina is particularly interested in the potential of music and song to improve the life quality of people living with dementia. She employs these tools in her work at Bergsodden on a daily basis, and for that reason is especially focused on the practical implementation of relevant research. She currently takes a Master degree in Social Education in Welfare state development at the Artic Center of Welfare and Disability Research at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. 

Collaboration partners

Lill Sverresdatter
Associate professor

Lill Sverresdatter Larsen (RN, MSc, PhD) is associate Professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Health and Care Sciences. Larsen is also a member of the multi-disciplinary research group Center for Care Research North. Her main field of research is in the area of health sociology and health policy, ageing and older people and specifically challenges related to dementia diseases. Her research concern keywords as citizenship, user involvement, ethnic affiliation, family caregivers and collaboration with municipal healthcare services.

Ingrid Skovgaard
Head of Public Outreach, Northern Norway Art Museum




International Network

Aud Obstfelder

Aud Obstfelder is professor and head of Centre for Care Research, Department of Health Sciences, NTNU in Gjøvik. The Centre is delegated responsibility by the Ministry of Health and Care Services to undertake research and development activities in municipal health and social care services. Her research is concerned with the social organization of healthcare work. In particular the consequences of new technologies and political initiatives for work practices, knowledge and practical skills, interactions between professionals and professionals and patients. These topics are explored through theoretical and empirical studies of the implementation and use of new technologies in healthcare services, interdisciplinary student practices and clinical encounters.


Hannah Zeilig

Hannah Zeilig has explored and written about the role and value of the arts for people with a dementia and the complicated ways in which our culture represents ‘dementia’. Her work is characterised by a trans-disciplinary approach and she collaborates with a wide range of colleagues from clinicians to scientists and artists. Most recently she has investigated the possibilities of artistic co-creativity with people with dementia. Hannah’s work combines theoretical rigour with real world knowledge of working with people with dementia.


Jill Halstead

Jill Halstead is a musician, composer and researcher working in the field of socially engaged arts. She specialises in collaborative devised performance projects, working on location with people who are marginalized and vulnerable. Working specifically with those living with dementia and their families, she has developed innovative forms of participatory creative practice which combine music and movement. Recent artistic work includes a series of screendance pieces and live performances tackling the social stigmatization around dementia and loss.

Julian West

Julian West is currently Head of Open Academy at the Royal Academy of Music where he combines a career as an oboist with developing ground-breaking creative learning and participation projects for in the field of music and dementia. He worked with Music for Life creating new music with people living with dementia and the people who care for them and within the Created Out of Mind Team at Welcome Trust that examined and challenged perceptions of dementia through scientific and creative experimentation. Julian’s practice is characterized by the forging of meaningful connections with and between those he is working with; the resulting work is not only for, about, and in response to the people involved, but could not exist without them.

Sonja Jerak-Zuiderent

Sonja Jerak-Zuiderent is Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Department of General Practice at the Amsterdam University Medical Centres, Netherlands. Her overarching research interest lies in accountability and evaluation practices in the sciences broadly defined in relation to the more neglected, everyday aspects of ‘good science’. She has published on accountability practices and devices in health care, like guidelines and performance indicators, on social studies of patient safety, is currently developing publications on trans*care in Argentina, ethnographically exploring the difference of ‘good science’ across and within disciplines and is finalising her manuscript Generative accountability: Comparing with care (forthcoming with MatteringPress).

Teun Zuiderent-Jerak

Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Department of Thematic Studies – Technology and social change (Tema T), Linköping University. Teun is interested in research that draws together two activities often viewed as belonging to different realms: intervening in practices and furthering scholarly understanding of them. Arts interventions in dementia care are of interest to him for their potential to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers, but mostly for how they allow us to explore new understandings of relational subjectivity. He has worked extensively on intervention research in medical practices, including being co-PI on a formative evaluation of a large national improvement program for long term care. His training is in Science and Technology Studies and he also publishes in medical sociology.


Artful Dementia Research Lab
Centre for Women’s and Gender Research
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Postboks 6050 Langnes
9037 Tromsø