WORKSHOP – Arts of Caring, Arts of Knowing. A workshop on Dementia and Knowledge Practices

19.09.2019 - 20.09.2019
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Dementia is often portrayed as the emblematic figure of morbid living in one’s later years, entailing substantial human costs to countries, societies, families and individuals” (WHO, 2017). Despite many ongoing efforts to prevent, manage, and cure dementia through biomedical means, dementia remains as a condition that is to be endured and lived with/through. At the same time, we are observing the flourishing of different forms of knowledges about living with dementia and creative engagements with dementia that aim to improve what might be called “qualities of life” of people that are affected by dementia. The notion of quality of life is also constantly challenged, negotiated, and rethought in these knowledge practices. As such, dementia offers us generative opportunities to renew our attention to the ways we know, care, and live, thereby revitalizing critical, imaginative and creative engagements with people with dementia.

Whereas the dominant discourse considers dementia as an irreversible loss of personhood, people with dementia and their carers strive to seek new possibilities of living differently with dementia. Putting together rich empirical researches in dementia care, the workshop Arts of Caring, Arts of Knowing: Dementia and Knowledge Practices aims to explore the generative potentials of dementia that urge and inspire us to rethink, imagine, tweak, improvise our ways of knowing, caring, and living as well as our analytic concepts and methods in humanities and social sciences.

The two-day workshop challenges the prevalent imaginaries about dementia in particular and older age in general that are shaped in specific politico-economic and socio-cultural contexts, not least since these make it difficult for us to creatively imagine and engage with the life with/in dementia. We invite participants from diverse disciplines who are documenting and producing alternative discourses, practices, and imaginaries about dementia, and asking questions about what it means, is and takes to live a “good” life as humans. We hope the workshop to be a venue for conceptual, practical, and methodological innovations in dementia and dementia care research throughout the world.

We seek papers that engage with the following questions, but not limited to:

  • Everyday experiments in dementia care both in informal and formal care settings
  • Production and circulation of caregiver knowledge on dementia care
  • Relationships between biomedical knowledge and caregiver knowledge on dementia
  • Mattering of “quality of life” of people with dementia and their carers in different contexts
  • Historical changes in dementia-related policies and their ethical and political implications
  • Innovative and creative engagements with dementia

If you are interested, please submit an abstract (250 words max.) including 3-5 keywords and a paper title to Jieun Lee ( and Laura Louise Heinsen ( by May 1, 2019. Due to space limitations, selected participants will be notified by mid-May, 2019. Participants will be asked to submit a short paper by the end of August, which will then be circulated among participants and discussed during the workshop. The workshop will take place in September 19-20, 2019 in Copenhagen.

The workshop is a part of the ERC funded project “The Vitality of Disease – Quality of Life in the Making” (