In 2007 the Gallery established its internationally acclaimed Art and Dementia program with the support of a now widely influential research project conducted by researcher, Sarah MacPherson, clinical psychologist Dr Mike Bird et al at the Australian National University.
In 2018, the Gallery collaborated with University of Canberra doctoral candidate Nathan D’Cunha to study salivary cortisol levels, a primary marker of stress, for participants of the program. D’Cunha’s ground-breaking study demonstrated that attendance of the Gallery’s Art and Dementia program provided a range of benefits including improvements in quality of life, wellbeing, and cognitive performance, and a reduction in depressive symptoms for people living with dementia.
Taking art and creativity online, Australian Journal of Dementia Care
Adriane Boag and researchers from the University of Canberra share the story of how the National Gallery’s popular Art and Dementia program successfully moved online during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2021 – offering insights for other arts and cultural organisations looking to develop similar programs for people living with dementia.