Designing work with people living with dementia: reflecting on a decade of research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is widely acknowledged as a landmark document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives from all over the world, the declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard for all peoples and all nations. The declaration sets out a series of articles that articulate a number of fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Article 23 of the declaration relates to the right to work and states that people have a human right to work, or engage in productive employment, and may not be prevented from doing so. The right to work is enshrined in international human rights law through its inclusion in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, where the right to work emphasizes economic, social and cultural development. This paper presents ongoing research that highlights how a disruptive co-design approach contributes to upholding UN Article 23 through the creation of a series of innovative working practices developed with people living with dementia. The research, undertaken in collaboration with several voluntary and third sector organizations in the UK, looks to break the cycle of prevailing opinions, traditional mindsets, and ways-of-doing that tend to remain uncontested in the health and social care of people living with dementia. As a result, this research has produced a series of innovative work opportunities for people living with dementia and their formal and informal carers that change the perception of dementia by showing that people living with dementia are capable of designing and making desirable products and offering much to UK society after diagnosis. In this ongoing research, the right to continue to work for people living with dementia post-diagnosis in creative and innovative ways has clearly helped to reconnect them to other people, helped build their self-esteem, identity and dignity and helped keep the person with dementia connected to their community, thus delaying the need for crisis interventions. This paper reports on a series of future work initiatives for people living with dementia where we have used design as a disruptive force for good to ensure that anyone diagnosed with dementia can exercise their right to work and engage in productive and rewarding employment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11742
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021


  • design
  • co-design
  • dementia
  • disruption
  • care


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing work with people living with dementia: reflecting on a decade of research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this