Please join Bilkent University’s Psychology Department on Tuesday for the seminar of Dr Meghánn Ward.
Speaker: Meghánn Catherine Ward, University of Cumbria
“Social, Emotional, Cultural, Material: Interdisciplinary Components of Living Well with Dementia”
Date: Tuesday, 28 March 2023
Room: C Blok amphitheatre
The World Health Organization estimates that over 55 million people worldwide are living with some form of dementia, a syndrome typically comprising the symptoms of memory loss, behavioural change, and difficulties with other cognitive functions including judgement, information processing, verbal communication, and temporal and spatial disorientation. The wide scope of symptoms suggests that dementia is not simply an internalised, neurological condition concerning the biomedical sciences, but a socially and embodied phenomenon that affects an individual’s identity, their interactions with place, and their relationships with other people and things. With no immediate cure available for dementia-related diseases, a sub-field of dementia research has been developing globally over the past two decades, examining ways of managing symptoms and ‘living well with dementia’ on a day-to-day basis. This public seminar focuses on parts of this interdisciplinary field of dementia research, showcasing the work of Dr Meghánn Catherine Ward within the topic of dementia, place, and community arts activities. Meghánn’s research promotes the need for investigating social, emotional, cultural, and place-based factors in the lived experiences of people with dementia, the enquiry of which remains underdeveloped within Türkiye. This seminar also provides an opportunity to share ideas on how to advance aging and dementia-based research through an interdisciplinary lens, which is pertinent given that Türkiye’s population is projected to age rapidly in the next two decades. The seminar will close with Meghánn’s vision for partnering gerontological and psychological research with other disciplines at Bilkent University, to subsequently grow our understanding of dementia in the socio-cultural context of Türkiye.
About the speaker:
Dr Meghánn Catherine Ward is an Interdisciplinary Researcher from Northern Ireland, with a background in Psychology, Anthropology and Human Geography. She was awarded a UKRI (United Kingdom Research and Innovation) dual masters and doctoral scholarship to conduct research alongside Lancaster University’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and Faculty of Health and Medicine, earning her a Ph.D. in Health Research in 2021. Her research focuses on older adults living with dementia and their caregivers, with particular interest in how creative, multi-sensory and environmental activities can have an impact on identity, communication, and everyday health and wellbeing experiences. Meghánn’s research is theoretically informed by therapeutic landscapes literature, positive psychology, and more-than-representational theories, which provide a holistic lens to the study of dementia and consider all things social, emotional, cultural, temporal, spatial, and material. Meghánn is currently working as a Research Fellow at the University of Cumbria, conducting a commissioned evaluation for the UK National Health Service (NHS) on the experiences of service users living with serious mental illness and substance misuse.