Design school for people living with dementia

People living with dementia and design experts will have a unique opportunity to work together and contribute their ideas and knowledge to the creation of dementia- enabling environments at a new design school to be held in March in Birmingham, UK.

The first of its kind anywhere in the world, the Design School for People Living with Dementia, hosted by the Dementia Centre, will provide a forum for people with dementia to share their experiences and develop a rich bank of knowledge to inform architects, planners, developers and service providers.

Director of the Dementia Centre, HammondCare, A/Prof Colm Cunningham, said the idea for a design school for people living with dementia stemmed from a discussion with Agnes Houston, MBE, who is living with dementia, in Australia last year around the need to increase the involvement of people with dementia in design.

Agnes, who is a Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, said a design school for people with dementia has the potential to change lives.  

“Using good design can empower people with dementia to remain a part of community life. It can build confidence and helps to keep us safe as we live our lives with dementia,” she said.

Agnes Houston at the International Dementia Conference 2016.

A/Prof Cunningham said with more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia – a figure that is set to rise to two million by 2050 – it was imperative that people with dementia be given the power to change communities.

“People living with dementia have in many cases learned to live with environmental barriers and have developed personal solutions to these challenges that people who do not have dementia could learn from,” he said.

“This school places the person living with dementia at the centre of design, whether that be a home, a hospital, a shopping centre, a public space or a product.”

The Design School will take place on 13 March 2018 during the Care and Dementia Environments Exhibition in Birmingham, UK.

If you are living with dementia and have a background in architecture, planning, design, aids and adaptations or are simply interested in design and contributing to this agenda then please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For further information please contact Dr Julie Christie, Region Manager UK, Dementia Centre, HammondCare 

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