Confronting Narratives of Loss: Art and Agency in Dementia and Dementia Care


  • Gloria Puurveen University of British Columbia
  • Alison Phinney University of British Columbia



dementia, art, health care, place, citizenship


In this essay, the authors share a conversation about a project that involved students and faculty from Emily Carr University and the University of British Columbia School of Nursing who partnered with Fraser Health Authority to create art for a transitional care unit in Surrey, BC. Yale Road Centre served as a temporary placement for people with dementia who were waiting for a permanent bed in a long-term care facility. The authors describe the background of the project:  how it was first conceived and the art created, and the research that was conducted to learn about its impact for residents. Drawing on the findings of this work, they discuss notions of place and place-making in relation to art and the temporary structures of transitional care. They further explore the potential for art in the context of dementia and dementia care to support social citizenship through engaging acts of creative agency. 

Author Biographies

Gloria Puurveen, University of British Columbia

Postdoctoral Fellow, W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics

Alison Phinney, University of British Columbia

Professor, School of Nursing