Today we are delighted to announce the appointment of Nikki Hafter  as the artist selected to work with the research project The Art Of Conversation with Aphasia.  Nikki is a recent graduate of MA Inclusive Arts Practice at the University of Brighton.

This project aims to develop UCL’s ‘Better Conversations with Aphasia’ conversation therapy to help people with aphasia (and their friends and family) to create helpful communication strategies and creative skills. See previous blog post Art & Aphasia in Isolation for more detail.

DLWP’s collaboration with University College London (UCL) and the charity Say Aphasia has continued, with the co-production team from the research project ‘The Art of Conversation with Aphasia’ meeting regularly online.  Over the summer team members were busy shortlisting and interviewing artists who responded to an open call to develop and deliver creative wellbeing sessions with people with aphasia and their conversation partners. These sessions will begin in November 2020.

Nikki says;

“My practice straddles art, play and action towards social justice. I’m very interested in communication and this opportunity aligns with my belief in the power individuals possess to shape the world through collective activity. I work with a range of media and materials including interactive webpages, installation, assemblage, pottery and cookery. I’m really excited about working with people with aphasia to develop new creative methods to engage their peers and their conversation partners  in creative activities and better conversations.”

The research project builds on the partnership between UCL and DLWP and harnesses DLWP’s progressive and prosocial heritage, encouraging creative ways to wellbeing to combat social inequalities and develop healthier communities and better futures.

Ashley McCormick, DLWP’s Head of Learning & Participation, leads the project for the Pavilion while, at UCL,  it is led by speech therapist and PhD student Firle Beckley under the supervision of Dr.Suzanne Beeke, Associate Professor, UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences.

Colin Lyall,  founding Director of Say Aphasia, says of Nikki;

“In her interview she used a lot of gestures and spoke slowly and clearly which is extremely important when speaking with someone with aphasia. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her joyful approach fits well with the vibe within Say Aphasia. She is extremely inquisitive and positive which will help this project to excel”.

Ashley commented, “We are really thrilled Nikki has joined the team and are keen to support her career development. She has experience of working with people with language impairment and her playful, yet sensitive approach will complement the group dynamic brilliantly. The research project provides a unique opportunity for an artist: testing co-production methods, questioning existing speech therapy models and fostering new creative communication strategies.”

Firle remarked: “This is a really exciting appointment. I am so excited to collaborate with Nikki and her experience is already blowing a breath of fresh air through our team meetings. I cannot wait to see how her creative input helps to influence our final Art of Conversation with Aphasia programme”


Posted by sally on Wednesday 16 September 2020