'Clown Time' and dialogic meaning-making : the benefits of digital clowning for dementia care

Talbot, RJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3042-0984 and Dormann, C 2020, ''Clown Time' and dialogic meaning-making : the benefits of digital clowning for dementia care' , in: The Practical Handbook of Dementia , PCCS Books, Monmouth. (Submitted)

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Playful interaction with clowns can be understood as a form of relief from the daily exigencies of living with dementia. For us, clown performance is a mode of dialogic meaning-making in which absurd juxtapositions can carry affective sense. So, creating a defined space for sensitive clown performance may circumvent the challenges to memory of more formal reminiscence-based interrogation and the constraints of behaviour management. We will introduce leading proponents of ‘Elderclowning’, a method that accommodates delayed responses and micro signals from participants. (Thomson, 2005 in Kontos et al 2016; Balfour in McCormick, 2017) We introduce relevant theories of care, such as ‘embodied selfhood’ (Kontos, 2016). Then we interpret principles from broad clowning practice such as complicité (Lecoq) and being ‘out of step’ (Byland). Our approach is suitable for interactions with people living with a recent diagnosis of dementia, in care homes, social clubs and dementia cafés. Following Schaumberger, Cameron and Öller (Hearts and Minds), and Killick (2006), we observe that mimetic clown play is a trigger for memory. We discuss ‘failure’ (following Gaulier) as an opportunity for participants to instruct clowns and revive their own latent knowledge. We will also consider the risks of confused realities and the value of the red nose as a signifier of the clown performer. We conclude with a reflection on our experiments with intermedial clown performance, that is, a combination of live and online interactions with clients, caregivers, friends and family in domestic settings.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Austin, R and Hopfenbeck, M
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: PCCS Books
Funders: British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Arts Grant, School of Arts and Media Impact Fund
Depositing User: RJ Talbot
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2020 14:50
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 04:30
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/56905

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