PEOPLE in Bradford living with dementia are among groups who have created special banners that are now to go on show.

Internationally-acclaimed artist and photographer Ian Beesley, award-winning cartoonist Tony Husband and poet and playwright Ian McMillan, have worked with people with dementia and their carers to create the banners.

The colourful works draw on the tradition of political banners highlighting inequalities, and aim towards a better understanding and representation of people living with the condition.

They are due to be exhibited at The People’s History Museum in Manchester, which holds the national collection of trade union and campaign banners.

‘The Unfurlings’ features banners for hope and change, designed by the groups, whose work forms part of the ‘A Life More Ordinary’ project. This stems from research led by the University of Exeter, which aims to support people to live as well as possible with dementia.

The artists have worked with a number of groups around the country affected by dementia, including Bradford, York, Leeds and Scarborough, with each area taking a different approach.

Banners on show feature those made by members of Yorkshire DEEP - Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project - made up of groups from Bradford, York and Scarborough.

It also includes a banned by the Bradford group focussing on the use of automatic tilling machines, such as the self-service checkouts in supermarkets and the difficulties people with dementia face in using them. “Their banner send contains strong messages, looking for better support for people with dementia,” says Ian Beesley.

He adds that the idea of a banner originated with a group they worked with in York.

“This group campaigns for better support for those living with dementia who travel by public transport - their banner was so striking and so effective that all our other groups wanted to create their own.

“Banners are powerful symbols of self-reliance and tangible proof of existence and as such have proved to be a fantastic way of articulating many of the problems faced by people living with dementia.”

The project is led by Professor Linda Clare at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with Innovations in Dementia. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Institute of Health Research. It is part of the wider IDEAL (Improving the Experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life) study.

Says Professor Clare: “Both the artists and the people affected by dementia have done an incredible job in coming together to create content that challenges the public perception of dementia as a downward spiral from diagnosis. We hope people will see the banners and ask themselves whether they can understand the needs of people with dementia better, and support them in their needs.”

The Unfurlings is at The Peoples History Museum, Manchester, from December 16 to January 19. Tel: 0161 838 9190. Entry is free. Visit:;

Helen Mead