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Last week of October clowndoctors from six different European countries met in Sarlóspuszta to learn more about people with dementia. The aim was to discover and go deep into this topic, getting inspiration and build up a professional team, which can co-create for the beneficiaries.
The artists come from a very different background and working environment, but already on the first day we could feel the commitment and passion to our work. On the first day the participants collected a deeper understanding of each other’s work and they got to know more about the different institutions they work with the elderly. They also collected the key points, what they would like to discover about working with demented people.
The next day was a deep diving and learning into the topic with an external expert, who did a dementia simulation with the clowns. During this dementia, simulation artists could discover physically with their own body how it feels to have dementia.
Their sensorial perceptions were decreased e.g. they wore facemasks with smaller holes for eyes, gloves which reduced the sensitivity in the hands, and had objects in their shoes to create an imbalance for the body. Additionally the artists were influenced by annoying sound battering in the background.
While they had to complete tasks, a person in the role of a caretaker was rough to them. The artists could experience their feelings and emotions in the situation of having less competency and ability, a disturbing environment and no real human connection.
Afterwards they discussed how the clowns can connect to people with dementia and why clowndoctors are most suitable for these beneficiaries. The clowns could experiment on a perception workshop as well and later going into discovering the tools they use for the target group.
During the second part of the artistic laboratory, the group formulated questions about the topic and gave artistic answers to them. Throughout these exercises, artists started their long-term common journey, enjoying the artistic discovery work by inspiration.