"I Will Tell You Something of My Own"—Promoting Personhood in Dementia Through Performative Social Science


  • Helen Gregory University of Gloucestershire




performative social science, dementia, personhood, creativity, art, poetry, photography, stigma


"I Will Tell You Something of My Own" was a performative social science project, which drew on the combined efforts of four artists and one artist/social scientist. Its aims were to illuminate the experience of dementia and to help combat stigma around this condition. There were two aspects to this project: a piece of (ongoing) qualitative research and a multi-arts exhibition. This article focuses on the latter, with particular emphasis on the construction/narration of three dimensional collages and displays, in collaboration with people with dementia. Visitors' and participants' comments on the exhibition suggest that it was successful in its aims. The exhibition was also able to create a dialogue with its audience, albeit in unanticipated ways, with visitors being more keen to share stories through conversation and guestbook comments than to contribute items to the display. It is argued that "I Will Tell You Something of My Own" demonstrates the ability of performative social science to bring social scientific research to larger/broader audiences, to touch audiences on both emotional and cognitive levels, and to make a meaningful difference to the lives of participants and others in their community.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1403183


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Author Biography

Helen Gregory, University of Gloucestershire

Helen GREGORY is a social scientist, psychology lecturer and performance poet. She is interested in the study of arts and creativity, and in performative social science (or arts-based research). She has studied spoken word and poetry slam communities, educational applications of youth poetry slam, and arts-interventions in dementia care. In recent years, she has begun to combine her research with poetry and visual arts, using art as a means of data collection, analysis and dissemination. She also runs poetry events, and programs the poetry stages for Glastonbury and Larmer Tree Festivals. Helen is a Psychology Lecturer at the University of Brighton.




How to Cite

Gregory, H. (2014). "I Will Tell You Something of My Own"—Promoting Personhood in Dementia Through Performative Social Science. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-15.3.2145



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