Through the passage of time, life becomes history, stories fade and become forgotten and objects represent a tangible means to fix memory onto history and speak of lives lived, with familiar things offering potent reminders. Such memories make us who we are and give us a sense of our time and place.

But crucially, for us all memory can prove to be elusive, confuse facts and shift with time. Cultural pressures to remember have given us unrealistic expectations as to how memory should work, we tax our memories to the limit at a time when we are living longer and anxiety about our overworked memories leads us to fear the loss of our memory. Memory loss is one of the most terrifying aspects of a for an individual diagnosed with dementia, and the fear, stereotypes and stigma surrounding dementia make the experience of the disease worse than it needs to be.

Dementia has always been and may always be a frightening experience for those who experience the disease and their families who care for them. Medical science may provide the prospect of a cure, but meanwhile dementia is a growing issue for our aging society. Culturally our fear of dementia leads us to see it as a death sentence and the dread and stigma surrounding Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in its most prominent form, contribute significantly to the difficult conditions of living with it. Through changes to our attitudes we can reduce this fear and find meaning within the disease experience.

This project has intended to connect with people who are experiencing dementia, and to create tools to be used to improve their lives and all of those who care for them. The focus is to create objects that promote interaction; a creative, in the moment engagement, that looks past an individuals memory loss and develops and connects with their remaining skills. The aim is to provide a model for people experiencing dementia, for their loved ones who may struggle to find ways to be in their company, and additionally to professional caregivers. A model that gives rise to the opportunity for all to express themselves and to promote these relationships, that assume their ability to grow and respond in ways that move through fear. This programme based upon a collaborative enterprise with Arts for Health at MMU has provided the opportunity to work with people who are at quite advanced stages of the journey of dementia and to design experiences for them that create meaning in their lives and promote openings for facilitating communication and interaction in new and innovative ways.

Clive Parkinson on Fortuitous Novelties

A podcast of the paper given by Clive Parkinson at the National Conference on Dance and Dementia on 11th December 2010.


Presenting Fortuitous Novelties

Darren Browett presents Fortuitous Novelties; and cordially invites you the private view of his work featured in the Manchester Metropolitan University MA Show 2010.

Fortuitous Novelties are found in MA Show Exhibition Two

Private View: 14th October 6-8pm

14th October – 21st October

Weekdays 10am – 4pm,

Sunday closed,

Saturday 11am – 4pm

A diverse exhibition of work by postgraduate students of the Faculty of Art and Design at MMU, includes work by MA Design and Art Direction, MA Art as Environment, MA Textiles and MA Three Dimensional Design students.

Press Release:

Recently graduating from MA Three Dimensional Design at MMU, Darren Browett’s work represents a succinct example of crafted objects in a given context, concerned with a philosophical ideas-based approach alongside an investigation of materials and techniques. Exploring human rites of passage he elected to create meaningful objects that aim be cathartic in situations of enforced change. These outcomes were founded within a real-life healthcare setting in a collaborative venture between Arts for Health at MMU, and Derbyshire Primary Care Trust, offering him the opportunity to develop a number of devices to support therapies concerning the wellbeing of patients experiencing Dementia.

Browett states, ‘Dementia is a growing issue for our aging society, and the stigma surrounding the disease contribute significantly to the difficult conditions of living with it, through changes to our attitudes we can reduce this fear and find positive meanings. I aimed to produce objects that would stimulate, provoke and excite and aimed to test them with people. This project brings to light the immediate work that can be done to enrich the lives of those experiencing Dementia and those who care for them’.

I hope to see you there…


Exhibition Venue:

The Holden Gallery

Manchester Metropolitan University

Grosvenor Building

Cavendish Street

Manchester M15 6BG

For further information, please visit



MA Show 2010 New eflyer