Artful Dementia

An Art|Science 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 and performative arts our researchers investigate other ways of living with and relating to dementia. Series of art interventions become thereby 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) with people living with dementia and their next of kin on the basis of a practice-based fieldwork approach

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

~ merging relational aesthetics with new material feminist theory

~ developing a theory-methods package on situated art interventions based on sociological and artistic accounts

Our work in the ADlab will not only contribute to new theories but also to ontological shifts in thinking of democratic societies: who may participate in what ways, through what forms of agency, with what kind of influence. A consequence will be a shift in understanding of people with dementia towards potential agentic citizens. The advanced situated arts intervention theory-methods package will influence the research practice of the qualitative research community.

The knowledge the project produces may have substantial impact on institutions, individuals and society. Local institutions and communities’ abilities will increase to open up civic spaces for societal participation and agency for people with cognitive difficulties in cooperation with partners and artists in artistic encounters. The long-term, accumulative impact will be more open, inclusive democratic societies. The lab will provide a knowledge base for creative arts-based business development.





Privious and upcoming conferences, workshops and seminars in which UiT's Artful Dementia Research Lab presents scientific work and connects to a variety of research communities.


Last Chapter: A Late Life Festival



Nordic Arts & Health Research Network meeting 22.-23. september 2020, online

Kunst og velferd. En konferanse om kunstens plass i velferdsstaten 23.-24. april 2020, Oslo (cancelled)

Last Chapter: A Late Life Festival 19.-20. June 2020, Bergen (postponed to 2021)

Embracing difference – investigating other ways of living with and relating to dementia through theoretical conversations and practical arts interventions: Revisiting Donna Haraway’s “The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others”.  2.-3. September 2020, online



Den sjuende norske kongress i aldersforskning 24.-25. oktober 2019, Fornebu 

Gender Studies 2019 Conference: On Violence 24.-26. October 2019, University of Helsinki

The Museum for All People: Art, Accessibility and Social Inclusion. International Conference 4.- 5. April 2019, Madrid

ESA Conference 2019, SP07: “Ageing in Europe: Agency, Citizenship and the Dynamics of Power” 20. - 23. August 2019, Manchester



Dimensions of Ageing – Multidisciplinary Seminar, 27. Septembre 2017,  St. Petersburg 

27th Alzheimer Europe Conference  “Care today, cure tomorrow”,  2. - 4. October 2017, Berlin



2016 4S/EASST conference „Science and technology by other means: Exploring collectives, spaces and futures”´, 31 August - 3. September 2016,  Barcelona 

23rd Nordic Congress of Gerontology 19. - 22. June 2016, Tampere

Gender Studies in Debate: Pathways, challenges and interdisciplinary perspectives INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS,  25. - 27. May 2016, Lisboa


Articles and Book Chapters

Conference Presentations & Workshops

  • Karoline Dalby, Lilli Mittner, Rikke Gürgens Gjærum (2020). Verksted: Hvordan er vi sammen? Situert kunstintervensjon som mulighetsrom for mennesker som lever med demens. Kunst og velferd. En konferanse om kunstens plass i velferdsstaten 23.-24. april 2020, Oslo
  • Mittner, L., Lukić, D., & Lotherington, A. T. (2019). Workshop on Feminist Art Interventions | Shaping Spaces of Possibility through Co-Creative Action. Kjønnsforskning NÅ! Tromsø 13-15 Novembre 2019
  • Mittner, L., (2019). Situert kunstintervensjon som mulighetsrom. Aktiv deltakelse for mennesker som lever med demens. Aktive eldre og aktiv aldring 7. norske kongress i aldersforskning, Fornebu 24-25 Octobre 2019
  • Lukić, Dragana; Mittner, Lilli; Lotherington, Ann Therese (2019). Exploring transformative powers of the arts for societal change: reimagining life with dementia through co-creative artistic encounters. The Museum for All People: Art, Accessibility and Social Inclusion, Madrid. 2019-04-02 - 2019-04-05 2019.
  • Mittner, L., Lukić, D., & Lotherington, A. T. (2017). The Role of the Artist in Arts-Based Dementia Care. Poster at the 27th Alzheimer Europe Conference “Care today, cure tomorrow” 2017-10-02. Berlin.
  • Lotherington, Ann Therese; Obstfelder, Aud; Zuiderent-Jerak, Teun; Jerak-Zuiderent, Sonja (2017). Artful Dementia: Experimental Arts Interventions for Gracious Living. Dimensions of Ageing - A Multidisciplinary Seminar. The Norwegian University Center in St. Petersburg, 26-28 September 2017 

Public ADLab-Sessions & Outreach 

Position Papers




  • Bellass, S., Balmer, A., May, V., Keady, J., Buse, C., Capstick, A., … Hodgson, J. (2018). Broadening the debate on creativity and dementia: A critical approach. Dementia, 1471301218760906.
  • Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs, 28(3), 801–831.
  • Bartlett, R., Gjernes, T., Lotherington, A.-T., & Obstefelder, A. (2016). Gender, citizenship and dementia care: A scoping review of studies to inform policy and future research. Health & Social Care in the Community, n/a-n/a.
  • Basting, A. D. (2009). Forget memory: Creating better lives for people with dementia. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Bourriaud, N. (2002). Relational aesthetics. Presses du réel.
  • Hansen, F. T. (2008). At staa i det aabne: Dannelse gennem filosofisk undren og naervaer. Koebenhavn: H. Reitzel.
  • Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.
  • Hughes, J. C. (2011). Thinking through dementia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Keady, J., Hydén, L.-C., Johnson, A., & Swarbrick, C. (2018). Social research methods in dementia studies: inclusion and innovation (Vol. 23). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Kontos, P. (2004). Ethnographic reflections on selfhood, embodiment and Alzheimer’s disease. Ageing and Society24, 829–849.
  • Latimer, J. E. (2018). Repelling Neoliberal World-making? How the Ageing-Dementia Relation is Reassembling the Social. The Sociological Review, 832–856.
  • Leavy, P. (Ed.). (2018). Handbook of arts-based research. The Guilford Press.
  • Nussbaum, M. C. (2013). Creating capabilities: The human development approach (First Harvard University Press paperback edition). Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Swinnen, A., & Schweda, M. (Eds.). (2015). Popularizing dementia: public expressions and representations of forgetfulness (Vol. Volume 6). transcript.
  • Zeilig, H., West, J., & van der Byl Williams, M. (2018). Co-creativity: possibilities for using the arts with people with a dementia. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults19(2), 135–145.
  • Zuiderent-Jerak, T. (2016). If Intervention Is Method, What Are We Learning?: A Commentary on Brian Martin’s “STS and Researcher Intervention Strategies.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 1(2), 73–82.

Artful Dementia – An Art|Science Research Lab

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