EMBODY – Experiencing Dementia Through New Media Exhibit

In October of 2018, Dr. Kristine Newman from Ryerson University’s Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing collaborated with researchers from Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) to showcase a new media exhibit, entitled EMBODY – Experiencing Dementia Through New Media. The exhibit was held at the RBC iDAPT Innovations Gallery at TRI over the course of four weeks, and was open to the public for viewing.

The exhibit is part of a multi-year study that looked at the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and ways to predict the onset of these symptoms, particularly agitation. The exhibit used arts-based knowledge translation to relay the findings from the study in an interpretative form that allows viewers to gain a deeper, subjective understanding of what it feels to have dementia. “The new media and art pieces will allow those visiting the exhibit to empathize with persons living with dementia,” says Kristine Newman. There were several different art pieces developed by a team of students from Ryerson University, and included photography, paintings, visualizations, virtual reality and augmented reality. The purpose of the exhibit was to allow viewers to experience the life of a person with dementia, and each piece offered a different immersive experience for viewers to interpret and critically reflect upon.

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Among the various forms of media, 360° videos were filmed and produced for viewing on Oculus GO goggles, which provided an immersive experience of a patient with dementia adjusting to a new situation. These videos can be viewed using the following links:

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Using audio and visual components, these videos gave viewers an "inside view" of what it feels like to have dementia, with several of the symptoms appearing through out. Viewers were also encouraged to leave their thoughts about the exhibit and dementia overall.

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The exhibit was covered by CTV News (https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/what-does-dementia-feel-like-exhibit-lets-you-live-a-day-in-the-life-1.4144058) and the Ryersonian (https://ryersonian.ca/multimedia-exhibit-breaks-down-misconceptions-about-dementia/). Check out this video of EMBODY Minute Madness for the highlights of the exhibit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9XWCdmkWfM). Overall, it was well-received and fuels the drive for future arts-based research translation ventures, especially involving the use of 360° video to promote viewer immersion and understanding of the study findings. Dr. Newman and her team continue the study, with an aim of understanding the impact of 360° video in knowledge translation and viewer retention, particularly in the area of promoting awareness of dementia.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Kristine Newman at kristine.newman@ryerson.ca.