Dementia Lab 2021 / Supporting Ability

Supporting Ability

Dementia Lab 2021 is the 5th installment of the Dementia Lab Conference. This year’s event is a virtual conference, hosted by the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada.

Dementia Lab 2021 will highlight the manner in which design or creative methods can uncover, support and enhance the abilities of people living with dementia. It will focus on the ways we engage with people living with dementia that are not determined or limited by what they cannot do, but instead embrace ways in which they are able to contribute (Manzini, 2015). Conference presentations, discussions, workshops will focus on the areas of:

1. Engagement
Ethics of inclusion and shifting the culture of care to one focused on both personal independence and reconnecting with the community

2. Empowerment
New ways of designing with/for those living with dementia, embracing challenges and tackling stigma to break negative stereotypes and preconceived opinions

3. Identity
Approaches to countering social isolation, retaining personhood/dignity and fostering empathy

The Dementia Lab Conference was founded by our partners at the Luca School of Arts.

We're supported by Vancouver Coastal HealthAlzheimer BC, and The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Vancouver Coastal Health, Alzheimers BC, SSHRC logos Supporter logos: Health Design Lab, Luca School of Arts, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media

The Health
Design Lab

Dementia Lab Conference 2021 is hosted virtually by the Health Design Lab (HDL), a research and design centre at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECU). We use participatory design methods to catalyze, support and amplify initiatives that address complex health challenges. To us, health is more than healthcare. Health is about community, culture, equity, agency, and much more. As a team of designers, including faculty, research associates and students, we work collaboratively with communities through storytelling, visualizing, making and co-design. Collaborations and projects may seek to foster new ideas, uncover needs or opportunities, improve systems and services, amplify voices and stories. A large focus of our current work is on the use of participatory design methods to support culture change within long-term care homes, amplifying the voice and choice of people with Dementia and those living in care.

Emily Carr University is situated on unceded, traditional and ancestral xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories - what is commonly referred to as Vancouver, Canada.

Read more about our projects at

Previous Years
of Dementia Lab


Making Design Work

21 & 21 October 2019, Eindhoven, NL
website archive

Conference proceedings are available from Springer.
Dementia Lab 2019. Making Design Work: Engaging with Dementia in Context

Demo booklet avilalable for download here.


Experience, Participation and Design

30 & 31 August 2018, Newcastle, UK
website archive


Stories from Design and Research

6 & 7 September 2017, Dortmund, Germany
website archive

Download the 2017 Dementia Lab Event: stories from design and research publication:
Publication in English


The Role of Design

14 & 15 September 2016, Essen, Germany
website archive

Download the 2016 Dementia Lab Event: the Role of Design publication:
Publication in English
- Publication with Introductions in German

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