25 November 2016 09:01

People living with dementia all over Scotland have contributed to an innovative new project, featuring a striking array of tartans, which goes on show today at Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. (November 25)

The “Disrupting Dementia” tartan project was undertaken as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Design Research Fellowship led by Paul Rodgers, now Professor of Design at Lancaster University.

The work was carried out when he was at Northumbria University, School of Design in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland.

The ‘Disrupting Dementia’ tartan design project involved Professor Rodgers visiting 17 different Alzheimer Scotland centres, travelling more than 80 hours and nearly 2,000 miles from Kilmarnock in the south to Shetland in the north and Stornoway in the west to Bonnyrigg in the east.

At each location he co-designed tartans with people living with dementia using a range of materials including coloured acetate and ribbon.

In total, he worked with more than 130 people living with dementia across Scotland helping them to design their individual version of the “Disrupting Dementia” tartan, using more than half a kilometre of different coloured ribbon in their prototype creations in the process.

A judging panel, comprising Alzheimer Scotland members and experts in tartan manufacture and production, narrowed down the entries to a shortlist of seven and people all over Scotland were invited to vote for their favourite. The winning tartan was chosen after several thousand votes had been cast. The winner is Nan from Inverness.

Says Professor Rodgers: “Nan and the other 130 participants have helped to show that people living with dementia can offer much to UK society after diagnosis. In so doing, she and the other 130 people living with dementia who have taken part in the “Disrupting Dementia” tartan project are helping to break the cycle of well-formed opinions, strategies, mindsets, and ways-of-doing, that tend to remain unchallenged in the health and social care of people living with dementia in the UK.”

Nan’s winning tartan, which combines purple, pink, blue and grey, has now been manufactured in Scotland by Ingles Buchan, of Glasgow.