After a pause due to the pandemic the UK Dementia Congress was back to being held in person, and this year it took place at Aston University Conference Centre on 8th-9th November. Although it was a smaller affair that previously, it provided a great opportunity to get back to networking, and made it possible for many of the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) team – past and present – to meet up en masse. (I’m not sure what the collective noun for a group of ADS colleagues would be, but perhaps it’s best not to go there!)
We had a good presence at the conference including:
- The opening address by Interim Director Dr Shirley Evans, followed by two of our PhD students Nathan Stephens and Rosemary Davies talking about their work so far.
- A stand advertising our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies, our course on Championing physical activity for people affected by dementia, Meeting Centres, our environmental assessment tools – including the new ‘Designing for Everyone’ toolkit that was launched 7th November – and ADS more generally.
- A symposium on Meeting Centres which brought together people from established Meeting Centres in Kirriemuir and Powys, a new Meeting Centre in Sandwell and emerging Meeting Centres in Hampshire, as well as highlighting the importance of our online Meeting Centre training.
- A presentation from Dr Becky Oatley on the DemECH project, looking at “What is the ‘extra’ in extra care housing?”
- A whole range of posters about various projects and resources.
- A book launch featuring the ‘Reconsidering Dementia’ series, with the book ‘Considering Leisure in the Context of Dementia’ being edited by members of the team and including chapters that they have authored.
- An early bird movement session co-facilitated by Nicola Jacobson-Wright, using dance as a way to reconnect post-pandemic. It got everyone off to a great start and sounded like a lot of fun.
- A symposium on our education offerings, covering not just the Postgraduate Certificate but also our Meeting Centre training, Championing Physical Activity course, and bespoke courses for individual care providers. The session was delivered by our teaching team of Dr Chris Russell, Mary Bruce, Teresa Atkinson and Nicola Jacobson-Wright, and it was great to include two short video clips to highlight some of our course content created by people with lived experience of dementia, and feedback from some our students. As part of the symposium we were privileged to present the 2022 Hennell Award to student Stuart Wright, recognising their work after studying on our module ‘Expert practice in delivering person-centred dementia care’.
Attending other sessions also gave us the opportunity to learn about all sorts of different work going on across the country, trigger new ideas, make new connections and expand our networks. Thanks go to the organisers and also to our own admin team for making sure that we all got their ok (despite the disruption caused by the on/off rail strikes) and we had all the resources for our stand.