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Id 169
Author Windle, G.; Gregory, S.; Howson-Griffiths, T.; Newman, A.; O Brien, D.; Gouldin, A.
Title Exploring the theoretical foundations of visual art programmes for people living with dementia

Windle, G.; Gregory, S., Howson-Griffiths, T., Newman, A., O'Brien, D., Gouldin, A. (2017). Exploring the theoretical foundations of visual art programmes for people living with dementia. Dementia, 17(6), pp 702-727

Keywords creativity; arts and related therapy; dementia; wellbeing
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Abstract Despite the growing international innovations for visual arts interventions in dementia care, limited attention has been paid to their theoretical basis. In response, this paper explores how and why visual art interventions in dementia care influence changes in outcomes. The theory building process consists of a realist review of primary research on visual art programmes. This aims to uncover what works, for whom, how, why and in what circumstances. We undertook a qualitative exploration of stakeholder perspectives of art programmes, and then synthesised these two pieces of work alongside broader theory to produce a conceptual framework for intervention development, further research and practice. This suggests effective programmes are realised through essential attributes of two key conditions (provocative and stimulating aesthetic experience; dynamic and responsive artistic practice). These conditions are important for cognitive, social and individual responses, leading to benefits for people with early to more advanced dementia. This work represents a starting point at identifying theories of change for arts interventions, and for further research to critically examine, refine and strengthen the evidence base for the arts in dementia care. Understanding the theoretical basis of interventions is important for service development, evaluation and implementation.

Metodology Protocol, including updates to the searches. As realist review methodology is an emerging field, there is a lack of consensus about how initial programme theories should be expressed (Pearson et al., 2015). After a number of discussions within the research team, we initially operationalised our programme theory to identify key features of two contextual factors/conditions hypothesised as important ingredients for intervention development. 1) Dynamic and responsive artistic practice (by whom and how) and 2) a provocative and stimulating aesthetic experience (where, what and how) for people living with dementia (for whom) triggers the mechanisms (why) that lead to (outcomes) well-being, quality of life and social connectedness (Windle et al., 2014). We then sought to test and augment this preliminary programme theory with published research. Stakeholder perspectives: Over a three-month period, self-reported qualitative data were obtained. This explored experiences of taking part and delivering visual art programmes, what people felt were the elements of a good programme, what they thought worked well and was beneficial, and what they felt should not be done. A call for responses was initially distributed using a snowball sampling approach through the research team’s networks and email distribution lists. The target group were stakeholders with experience of either delivering or taking part in visual art programmes

DOI 10.1177/1471301217726613
Search Database WoS (Web of Science)
Technique realist review; peer-review; qualitative approach
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