DHS Professor part of award-winning team showing dementia in new light

Department of Health and Society Assistant Professor Julia Gray is part of a team receiving recognition for a project aimed at raising awareness about dementia stigma, the implications of this stigma for care practices, and how things could be done differently.

Cracked: New Light on Dementia and Dementia in New Light: A Digital Learning Experience was awarded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Mobilization in Aging.

 “I am incredibly honoured that our team received this award,” says Prof. Gray. “It’s very exciting that our work has been recognized by CIHR in particular, given it’s an arts-based project. It speaks to the increased recognition of the importance of interdisciplinary work to address complex social health issues, including the arts.”

“The arts have the potential to help people see and make change at an individual level, but also socially, and even structurally,” adds Prof. Gray. “They can help us pay attention to our feelings and thoughts, but also how those feelings and thoughts extend to our actions – for example, how we interact or speak to other people, but also larger ‘actions’ like how we develop policy or manage institutions. The arts can help us bring awareness to these things, but also imagine how things could be different, with the potential to trigger social change.”

The Betty Havens Prize, based on nominations of applicants by peers, teams or organizations, recognizes an individual, team or organization that has advanced the mobilization of research in aging at a local or regional level. Recipients of the Prize receive $20,000 in funding. 

The winning team includes Dalla Lana School of Public Health professor Dr. Pia Kontos, Brock University assistant professor Dr. Alisa GrigorovichDr. Sherry Dupuis from the University of Waterloo, and Dr. Christine Jonas-Simpson from York University. 

Cracked: New Light on Dementia is an innovative research-based play and film that follows persons with dementia and their families on their unique journeys, from diagnosis to their new lives in long-term care. New Light: A Digital Learning Experience uses scenes from Cracked and goes well beyond the original production immersing the audience through animation, video, and audio moments.