• ‘Withness’: Creative spectating for residents living with advanced dementia in care homes

      Astell-Burt, Caroline; McNally, Theresa; Collard-Stokes, Gemma; Irons, J. Yoon; London School of Puppetry; University of Derby (Intellect, 2020-07-01)
      Aiming to illustrate the potential for puppetry as a useful resource in dementia care, the authors argue unusually that play with puppets derives not particularly from drama or theatre, but fundamentally from the performative relationship people have with objects. The puppeteers of the study achieved remarkable emotional connection with care-home residents through an experience of puppetry, which dissolved the unitary autonomy of the puppet, recontextualizing it relationally as the puppeteer-with-puppet-with-spectator. It is this ‘withness’ that ignited the creative spark of presence of the residents. For a moment of trust and child-like joy kinaesthetic memories stirred in them, appearing to break down emotional barriers between the person and the world around them and indicating comparatively longer-term therapeutic benefits.