Categories
Events

Dementia: Feel it Through Fiction at Imagine Festival

If you missed Dr Jane Lugea’s recent talk at Imagine Festival Belfast you can catch up here.

Dementia: feel it through fiction Has reading fiction ever made you laugh, cry, or feel something? How can words on a page create characters and represent fictional experiences to such an extent that we not only believe, but are moved by them? A recent ‘boom’ in fiction representing dementia has inspired QUB researchers to investigate how the language is used gives an insight into the experience of people living with dementia. This interactive talk explores how dementia is represented in fictional language, how readers respond to it, and why. The speaker is Dr Jane Lugea (Senior Lecturer of English Language at Queen’s University Belfast), who specialises in Stylistics, the language of literature. Dr Lugea is Principal Investigator on an ongoing AHRC-funded project, ‘Dementia in the minds of characters and readers’, which investigates how dementia is represented in literary language and how it offers a window into understanding the condition. The project benefits from the expertise of Co-Investigators Dr Gemma Carney (Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at QUB) and Dr Paula Devine (Co-Director of ARK Ageing Programme), as well as Dr Carolina Fernández Quintanilla. Writer and older people arts facilitator, Jan Carson, is curating a great range of outreach activities around the project’s themes: dementia, creative writing and reading, and understanding each other better through the power of narrative. Find out more: dementia fiction blog • @fictiondementia

Categories
Events

Dementia: Feel It Through Fiction at Imagine Belfast

Free online talk as part of the Imagine Festival

27th march: 1.00pm

jump to tickets

Has reading fiction ever made you laugh, cry, or feel something? How can words on a page create characters and represent fictional experiences to such an extent that we not only believe, but are moved by them?

A recent ‘boom’ in fiction representing dementia has inspired QUB researchers to investigate how the language is used gives an insight into the experience of people living with dementia. This interactive talk explores how dementia is represented in fictional language, how readers respond to it, and why. 

The speaker is Dr Jane Lugea (Senior Lecturer of English Language at Queen’s University Belfast), who specialises in Stylistics, the language of literature. Dr Lugea is Principal Investigator on an ongoing AHRC-funded project, ‘Dementia in the minds of characters and readers’, which investigates how dementia is represented in literary language and how it offers a window into understanding the condition. The project benefits from the expertise of Co-Investigators Dr Gemma Carney (Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at QUB) and Dr Paula Devine (Co-Director of ARK Ageing Programme), as well as Dr Carolina Fernández Quintanilla. Writer and older people arts facilitator, Jan Carson, is curating a great range of outreach activities around the project’s themes: dementia, creative writing and reading, and understanding each other better through the power of narrative.

Categories
Events

Reading Group Call Out

Do you enjoy reading and talking about books? Would you like to take part in a fun, interactive reading group looking at how dementia is represented in fiction? We’re looking for enthusiastic individuals with little or no personal experience of dementia to take part in an important research project based at Queen’s University Belfast. All contributions from the group will play a valuable part in exploring how dementia is depicted in contemporary novels. 

The online reading group will meet on Zoom one evening a week for 6 weeks during April and May. They’ll take place on Thursday evenings at 7pm and will last a maximum of 90 minutes. At each meeting, the researchers will read two short excerpts from two different novels while you follow along with the print copies provided. You’ll be asked to complete a short questionnaire and get involved in a group discussion. We’re interested in your opinion and value your ideas and contributions. There’s no such thing as a wrong answer. The sessions will be audio-recorded so that they can be transcribed for our research. 

If you’re interested, you can find out a little more about the project on our website. If you’ve got any questions or would like to sign up please get in contact with Carolina at dementiafictionreadinggroup@gmail.com

We’d hoped to be conducting these readings groups in person and getting to know you in real life. As we can’t provide the usual tea and cakes, we’ll be posting out welcome packs including sachets of hot drinks and biscuits to be enjoyed while we chat. We’d also like to offer you a £20 book token as a thank-you for completing the reading group sessions. 

Spaces are limited so we’d encourage you to sign up asap. This is a fantastic opportunity to help out with an important research project whilst getting to know some new people. We’d love to have you on board. 

Categories
Events

Dementia Fiction Writers’ Chat

In September we’ll be hosting a fantastic two day Dementia Fiction Festival. We’re still hopeful about having events in person at the Accidental Theatre building in Shaftesbury Square, Belfast but we may well end up holding a hybrid event both simultaneously online and in person for those who live close to the theatre. Watch this space for more details later in the year. As we get closer to the Festival we’ll be thinking and planning a range of great workshops and panels exploring the themes and issues pertinent to writing about dementia. Our outreach officer Jan will be consulting with writers, academics, representatives from umbrella organisation both within the dementia and literary sector and, most importantly, people living with dementia to ensure the programme is as useful and comprehensive as possible.

On Wednesday past we had our first online Zoom session, consulting with a group of writers who have explored or are exploring dementia in their work. We were keen to hear about their projects and to find out what topics and themes they’d like to see covered at the festival. We were absolutely delighted to have fourteen enthusiastic, engaged writers from all across the UK, Ireland and even South Africa, join us for the chat. The group included novelists, short story writers, non-fiction writers, poets, play writes and screenplay writers. It was quite an eclectic bunch.

After each writer had presented an overview of their own project and the particular themes they’re engaging with we enjoyed a great discussion covering issues like maintaining a balance between negativity and positivity in writing about dementia, the importance of research, diversity and lack of diverse representation, language and form and a host of other really interesting issues. We concluded the evening with an opportunity to share useful books and resources. We hope to host another session in early May. If you’d like to join the chat drop Jan an email at jan.carson@qub.ac.uk

Categories
Events

Online Creative Writing with the Alzheimer’s Society

Over the course of the next few months we’ll be collecting contributions for our forthcoming “In Our Own Words” pamphlet which will provide a vehicle for people living with dementia to share their own thoughts and experiences. This pamphlet will be circulated amongst healthcare professionals and other people working in areas where they have regular contact with those living with dementia. It’s hoped the pamphlet will increase awareness and begin conversations about what it’s like to live with dementia every day. (More of this later. Watch this space).

In the run up to the pamphlet’s publication, our Outreach Officer, Jan Carson has been facilitating some online writing workshops with people living with dementia. For the last two sessions we’ve been graciously hosted by Julie McCaughey and James Erskine of the Alzheimer’s Association who introduced us to some of the people who regularly participate in their online conversation groups. They proved to be an extremely chatty and very imaginative group of individuals. It’s fair to say we did more laughing together than actual writing but we still managed to come up with some remarkable work.

Over two 90 minute Zoom sessions, 16 participants worked with Jan to share their stories, write and chat through ideas. We listened to some readings together: two postcard stories and a Billy Collins poem. The workshop’s theme was objects. Each participant brought a special object and developed a piece of writing, explaining what it was and it’s significance. We found out about travel experiences, family dynamics, favourite pets and memories of work amongst other things. We were even treated to an impromptu performance on the Banjo-lele (which we were reliably informed is a cross between a banjo and ukulele. Whatever it was, it sounded great).

Both sessions were an absolute treat and we’re very grateful to Julie and James who worked hard to make them possible. It’s not easy to find means of connection and community during these strange Lockdown times but our hours together felt almost as warm and companionable as an in person workshop might have done. We’ve been in a good mood ever since. We’re looking forward to sharing more information about the pamphlet soon and some details on how you can get involved.

Categories
Events

“Somebody I Used to Know” – NI Science Festival Event with Wendy Mitchell

If you missed our wonderful conversation about writing dementia which was included in February 2021’s NI Science Festival Programme you can watch it on YouTube by following this link

Brave, inspiring and beautifully crafted, Wendy Mitchell’s memoir, Somebody I Used to Know was the first book of its kind written by someone living with dementia. In this much anticipated conversation, Belfast-based novelist Jan Carson will chat to Wendy about her experience living with and writing about dementia, alongside author Anna Wharton who helped co-author Wendy’s memoir and has recently published her own debut novel, The Imposter in which she further explores the theme of dementia. Queen’s University Belfast based linguist, Dr Jane Lugea will also be joining the conversation to talk about her AHRC-funded research project exploring how writers represent dementia in their fiction. We are delighted to bring together three inspiring women for an important conversation about how dementia can be written about with dignity, hope and imagination. The book ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ is available in Belfast from No Alibis Bookstore: https://noalibis.com​ And available internationally from local bookstores.