Combining two different roles

This week we hear from Teresa Atkinson who is a Senior Research Fellow here at the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) but also a lecturer on our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies, specifically the modules around enabling environments and supporting family carers. Over to you Teresa…

Being a lecturer and a researcher is an interesting journey full of self-reflection and constant learning. In this week’s blog, I bring together a number of things that have happened recently which I’ve been reflecting on.

As a researcher of 20+ years (where did that go!) I have listened to the voices of people affected by their cognitive impairment in many walks of life. This was what excited me to become involved in training and now in education – sharing the stories and experiences of the many voices I had heard to help professionals in practice to understand the funny, sad and interesting lives of the people we support.

As an educator, I’m deeply proud of the work we do at ADS to share our knowledge; knowledge which comes from years of practice and years of research. But this is also a learning journey for me; learning from people affected by dementia; learning from our students (all professionals in practice) and learning from my colleagues.

This work has recently been brought to the fore in a number of ways. Firstly, we are imminently due to present an educational symposium at this year’s UK Dementia Congress to be held at Aston University on the 8th and 9th of November.

Secondly, we are writing a paper for publication in the Journal of Dementia Care to share our journey of learning and reflection with a wider audience.

Lastly, but definitely not ‘last’, we are hoping to receive a very special award – University of Worcester Teaching Team Award. This will celebrate the incredible work this very special team has done over the past three years in developing and delivering its online Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies. Being part of this journey has been an insight for me – never would I have considered myself a ‘lecturer’! Yet, this has been one of the highlights of my twenty-something year career in working with people with cognitive impairment. Sharing stories with students, learning from students, watching professionals from such a wide range of disciplines share their experiences, their triumphs and their frustrations in being able to fully deliver a service which supports some of our most vulnerable citizens to enjoy the full potential of their lives.

Fingers crossed for winning our award, but in my eyes the award has already been won. We have developed a programme which is touching the lives of many professionals who, like the proverbial ripples in the pond, touch so many other lives – those living with dementia, their families, their friends and other professionals. This is truly an achievement to be celebrated.


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