Representing and sharing experiences of dementia through comics

Sarah McNicol

Project Director: Sarah McNicol
Amount: £10,510
Funder: Arts Council England
Duration: February 2018 - April 2019

This project piloted a collaborative, patient-led approach to health comics creation. Artists and people living with dementia worked together in a series of arts workshops to find ways to represent and depict the condition in a comics format.

There are many existing comics and other narratives about dementia, but the majority are written from the perspective of carers, family members, and others who do not have the condition themselves. This can create a gap in understanding around what it is like to have dementia and how those with dementia would prefer to be treated. In this project, therefore, we directly engaged people with dementia in the design of a comic, ensuring their perspectives remained at the centre of the creative outputs.

Through a series of workshops with a group people with early to mid stage dementia from the Beth Johnson Foundation in Stoke-on-Trent, we devised a unique method of collaborative production that included ongoing testing and consultation throughout the creative process. The outcome was a mini-comic called There’s No Bus Map for Dementia which emphasises that, with the right support, it is possible to  live well with dementia. It is accompanied by an illustrated guide that provides ideas on ways to use the comic.

Some responses to the comic:

I like how it captures the daily challenges that people with dementia face, and practical steps for dealing with them.

I have worked with dementia patients for many years and it shows the daily struggles without complicating the issues.

Cathy Leamy, a comic-book artist from the US developed the comic and the workshops were supported by local artist, Jessica Lucas.

Find out more about the project on our blog.

Download a copy of the comic: There's No Bus map for Dementia or access the online version here

Request a print copy of 'There's No Bus Map for Dementia'

Download There’s No Bus Map for Dementia Guide with ideas for ways of using the comic.

A guide to patient-led comics creation for groups and organisations interested in creating their own comic.

For more information about the project please contact Sarah McNicol, or telephone 0161 247 5104.


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