Images, Imaginaries And Imagination In Communicating Dementia Through Narrative Picturebooks For Children

Caldwell, Elizabeth (2020) Images, Imaginaries And Imagination In Communicating Dementia Through Narrative Picturebooks For Children. In: EASST/4S Conference 2020, 2020-08-18 - 2020-08-21, Virtual. (Unpublished)

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Recent years have seen a steep growth in the publication of richly illustrated picturebook stories that aim to help children understand the changes that dementia can bring to family life. In addition to producing engaging visual and verbal narratives, these books also have the challenge of communicating health information to young children as well as inspiring positive interactions between children and their relatives living with dementia. This paper presents an interdisciplinary study of 10 picturebooks about dementia and draws on theoretical perspectives from feminist technoscience studies, children’s literature, health communication and critical age studies. The study uses analytical approaches from literary criticism and visual studies to interrogate the both visual and verbal narratives and we develop a methodology for analysing visual narratives carried through sequential images. Our analysis reveals that the books frequently utilise ageist tropes of decline in order to represent dementia visually to young children, such as increasing use of technology to support the physical body. However, the picturebooks also present narratives of ongoing personhood for people living with dementia and encourage children to become involved in memorial work to preserve memories and identities for their relatives, both whilst they are living and once they have passed away. These findings reflect both the polyvocal nature of discourses surrounding dementia in contemporary society, as well as the complexity inherent in visual texts.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
EASST/4S Conference 2020 : Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds
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Deposited On:
21 Dec 2021 15:00
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 08:45