You have now completed Module 6: Engagement & Wellbeing, and with it the Artful Moments: Shared Learning curriculum. As the culmination of the program, this module explored the outcomes of Artful Moments – how to recognize and activate engagement, and how to understand the impact that experiences like these can have for people living with dementia.
We began with engagement – what it is and what it looks like. By observing the actions and participation of your group you will be able to keep track of how successful your program delivery is from one moment to the next. By applying the knowledge you have gained from this curriculum – the knowledge of dementia and the three pillars (environment, approach, activity) you will achieve engagement. You will also be able to recognize disengagement if it occurs, and have a process to try to figure out why.
Next we dove into wellbeing – the overall goal and outcome of Artful Moments. As a complex and extensively researched concept, it is important to know some of the established theories to find a model or definition that fits this work. We shared the ideas of several different researchers from the fields of museums, psychology and dementia care, as well as our own definition of wellbeing that informs Artful Moments.
Program evaluation is an important way to understand your successes and keep your work moving forward. We have shared the tools we use in our evaluation and research, and would be very pleased to hear about your findings. To move our field along, having larger research studies will help us to understand the impact that museums can have in the lives of people with dementia.
Congratulations on completing this curriculum. If you have been completing the learning activities in each module, you will have the beginnings of your own program plan. If not, download the workbook from the materials section now, and spend some time working through it.
In Module 1, you will take steps towards developing your own vision and philosophy for a program. Keep in mind that this will be an evolving process that shifts and expands as your experience grows. Take the time to explore and reflect on unconscious bias and stigma, and think about steps you can take to share your growing vision within your museum.
In Module 2, use our template to summarize the information about dementia into notes that will help you apply the knowledge to your work. There is a lot to learn, and it will take time to integrate everything. As you work with people living with dementia, you will begin to notice ways that you can enhance their abilities and support any of the changes they experience. By putting the ideas into practice, it will help solidify what you have learned.
In Module 3, the focus is on the space in which you work. Take the time to walk through your spaces with fresh eyes to see areas for adjustment, and use the checklist to help guide some of your planning.
Module 4 is about communication, and how you approach and support your participants. When you first begin, having a plan with a variety of alternatives for questions and techniques will help, though later you will be able to adjust as you go. Practice modifying questions and instructions, and think about non-verbal communications.
Module 5 is where we focus on the activities themselves. Use our guides to reflect on and modify some of your favourite activities, and take the time to understand and embrace the changes you make. We have offered lots of sample activities, and a template for planning your own program.
Module 6 is where we looked at the results and feedback of the program. Take the time to notice how your participants respond to you and your activities, and look for signs of engagement. We have provided research and evaluation tools to help you assess your program. We strongly recommend taking the time for evaluation and reflection. Evaluation and reflection are essential components of the process, and will help shape important and effective modifications to further enhance your program. Our own research is always growing, and we welcome you to share your experiences and evaluations with us.
Take some time to reflect on what you have learned.
Your reflections and workbook activities have guided your development of a detailed and effective program plan. With this plan in hand, you are ready to present your first program. Try it out, make notes about what works and what requires further development. Remember, plan for everything, but expect anything – your plan should prepare you well,, but don’t be afraid to change gears should the situation requrie it. Plans are important, but participants’ experiences are more than just a plan.
Take some time to return to the My Philosophy activity in the AM: Shared Learning workbook. Review your notes with your acquired knowledge and planning in mind and begin to write a philosophy statement that can lead your work as your program begins.