Current Inspire Fund projects
Beautiful Brains: An Insight into our Inner World
Dr Lizzie Burns – Amount awarded: £5,000
‘Beautiful Brains’ will bring to life the remarkable tiny world inside the brain to engage young people (ages 8-14) with changes during dementia and how science brings hope for understanding, new treatments and prevention. Lizzie and her team aim to spark young people’s imagination and inspire them through creative and engaging workshops bringing together artists and scientists. Students will learn from Alzheimer’s Research UK Network scientists in the classroom about how new treatments are sought and participate in three creative activities to explore dementia research.
Visualising dementia research through colouring pages and zines
Hana Ayoob – Amount awarded: £12,530
Through workshops with dementia researchers, Hana will support researchers to grow and develop their communication skills to bring their research to life. Hana will work with a diverse range of researchers to widen engagement with STEM research, and the people behind it. The project will develop public events to use these resources to open up conversations between researchers and their communities and encourage curiosity around research. Following the project, these resources will be made freely available along with guidance on how they can be used to facilitate conversations around dementia research.
Dr Sarah-Naomi James and Rachel Briscoe – Amount awarded: £15,000
This project is a collaboration between researchers from University College London and creative experience designers fanSHEN. Led by Sarah and Rachel, the team are setting out to create a play in the dark about dementia. Through a fictional story that interweaves a radio presenter’s personal experience of her mother’s dementia with her work conducting an interview with a dementia researcher, audiences will explore their own experiences, feelings and attitudes towards dementia.
Using social media and machine learning to identify and change dementia misconceptions
Dr Sagar Jilka – Amount awarded: £5,000
Machine learning gives us the ability to automate tasks so that we can gain new insight into a topic from large amounts of information. In this project, Sagar will create a machine learning algorithm to analyse posts and discussions on Twitter. Working with people affected by dementia, he will analyse the results to identify common misconceptions. Together, they will prioritise the greatest need and co-create a targeted awareness campaign to build people’s understanding of dementia and point them towards trustworthy sources of information about dementia.
Little Red Door
Sondertide – Amount awarded: £16,184
“My father, who has Alzheimer’s, turned to me once and said, “Can you see that little red door?”.
There was no red door, but rather than correct him I asked, “What’s beyond the little red door, dad?”. He animatedly told me all that he could see – in that moment that my dad was still very much alive and present. I realised that, rather than continue to deny his perception of reality, maybe I should take some time to enjoy and understand it? After all, reality is personal to each and every one of us.”
This project sets out to create a theatrical experience to explore what dementia is and how it feels to live with it. Alongside the production, the Sondertide team will also produce a podcast series to discuss various topics around dementia, sharing their experiences of developing the script and how their understanding of dementia develops along the way.
Dementia awareness and prevention in the Chinese community
Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group – Amount awarded: £10,774
Language and cultural barriers within the Chinese community mean that dementia is often overlooked and ignored, delaying diagnosis and treatment as well as hindering efforts to educate people about ways to reduce their risk of developing dementia. In this project, the BACWG team plans to deliver 10 events with the aim of increasing the knowledge of the Chinese community around dementia and up-skilling them to better look after themselves. They will also produce a video to further promote dementia awareness among the Chinese community. With over 30 years’ experience of working in the Chinese community, the group is ideally placed to engage with the community and use culturally appropriate methods to build knowledge and understanding of dementia.
Dementia with Lewy bodies animation
Simon Ball – Amount awarded: £19,386
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) affects around 100,000 people in the UK, making it the third most common form of dementia. While it has some similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory problems, people with DLB can develop vivid visual hallucinations, which can be hard to explain and challenging for others to understand. Working with doctors and people living with DLB, animator Simon Ball plans to create an animation to build people’s understanding of DLB, by sharing personal insights and showcasing how these symptoms affect people.
Brain Banks, Expand Minds
MindTorch – Amount awarded: £15,000
This project from MindTorch takes a hands-on approach to inspiring and informing young people from low socio-economic backgrounds about neuroscience and the important role of dementia research. Workshops will be held for students aged 14-19 in collaboration with 10 schools and a network of Brain Bank facilities from the Brains for Dementia Research network (London, Newcastle, Oxford & Bristol), and researchers in Reading. The workshops will give students the opportunity to visit the brain banks and hear from researchers at the cutting-edge of dementia research, learning about research progress and how to develop a career in science. Researchers involved with the project will gain training in how to engage the public with their work, equipping them with skills that they can use in the future.