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Healing Words: Critical Inquiry of Poetry Interventions in Dementia Care
Start Date: 5/29/2014Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Date: 5/29/2014End Time: 1:00 PM

Event Description:
Colloquium Series featuring Fulbright Scholar, Aagje Swinnen

Bio
Aagje Swinnen is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University (NL). She has published on the representation of age and gender in literature, film and photography (e.g., The Gerontologist, Journal of Aging Studies, and the volume Aging, Performance and Stardom with J.A. Stotesbury). Swinnen has acquired numerous competitive research grants, is deputy chair of the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS) as well as co-editor of the new journal Age, Culture, Humanities. She is currently staying at the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics of Stony Brook University as a Fulbright scholar.

Abstract
“Healing Words”: Critical Inquiry of Poetry Interventions in Dementia Care
The personhood movement in dementia research has established the theoretical foundation for implementing artistic approaches in care practices. The underlying assumption is that professionals from the visual and the performance arts are well equipped to see the person behind the condition and to focus on possibilities for meaningful relationships in the here and now. My lecture focuses on poetry interventions as one example of creative approaches that increasingly are employed in dementia care and receive recognition as good practices. The use of poetry might seem counterintuitive given that people with dementia lose their language abilities and poetry is regarded to be the most complex literary form. I will argue that to expand on existing research on poetry interventions from a health and science perspective, a humanities approach will help illuminate how poetry works to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia. Drawing on participant observations of poetry interventions by Gary Glazner (Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, USA) and Sandra Stark (Zona’s Kiosk Amsterdam, NL), poetry interventions will be framed as a specific form of oral poetry in which people with dementia are positioned as co-creators of embodied texts and directly benefit from the power of the spoken word. 

Contact Information:
Name: Michael Ortega
Phone: 631-444-8029
Email: michael.ortega@stonybrook.edu
Aagje
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