All aboard the Brighton Brain Bus
By: Sam Keir
Last updated: Friday, 25 February 2022
People from Brighton & Hove are being invited to contribute to the design of the Brighton Brain Bus, a joint project between researchers at the University of Sussex and a local artist. Volunteers’ ideas will help decorate one of the city’s buses with artwork highlighting the latest dementia research and the simple steps people can take to keep their brains healthy.
Thanks to a £25,000 funding boost from Alzheimer’s Research UK’s flagship public outreach scheme, the Inspire Fund, creative workshops in Bevendean and Moulsecoomb will take place over the coming months, in which participants will work closely with Brighton-based artist, Daniel Locke, to contribute ideas for the design for the bus.
Following the workshops, a bus from Brighton & Hove Buses’ fleet will be wrapped with Locke’s final design before the Brighton Brain Bus enters service later this year.
Dr Sarah King, Reader in Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Sussex School of Psychology, said: “It will be amazing to use the bus as a canvas to talk about the research we’re doing and to motivate people to keep their brains in good shape. This brain exhibition on wheels will be a great way to spread the word throughout the city. I can’t wait to get started on the project and see what we come up with in the workshops.”
Daniel Locke, Brighton-based artist and graphic novelist, added: “I’m super excited to be part of the Brighton Brain Bus project. As a local artist it’s always thrilling to see my work out in the community, and what better way to exhibit than on a bus making its way through our city? Especially when it will be raising awareness of a really important issue.
“I can’t wait to collaborate with fellow residents on the design for the Brain Bus, as well as discovering more about dementia, brain health and the research going on at the University of Sussex.”
Dementia affects nearly one million people across the UK, but a legacy of stigma and misunderstanding have led to widespread misconceptions about what it means to have the disease and what people can do to help improve the lives of those affected.
Alzheimer’s Research UK Inspire Fund promotes initiatives, such as the Brighton Brain Bus, that tackle misconceptions about dementia and raise awareness of the importance of dementia research and good brain health.
Tim Parry, Director at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Our brains are incredible. They’re responsible for making us who we are, housing our memories, our emotions, and our creativity. The diseases that cause dementia put all this at risk. However, developing dementia is not an inevitable part of getting older and there are things we can do to keep the brain healthy.
“The Inspire Fund is all about engaging the public with dementia and things you can do to look after your brain. As well as stories in the news, engaging in dementia through art has become more common, suggesting it is becoming a more normalised part of the national conversation, which is a crucial step towards overcoming it. What better canvas for carrying out art to engage people about brain health than a bus! I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like.”
The project is also supported by Brighton & Hove Buses, who are working in partnership with the University of Sussex to help get this important message out into the community. The two organisations have worked together previously, with two of Brighton’s route 25 buses used to share the wonders of physics in 2017-18.
Ed Wills, Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus, said: “We understand that dementia can affect people’s lives and that’s why we have introduced dementia friendly floors on our buses and, many of our drivers are Dementia Friends. This bus will really help to raise awareness about the importance of dementia and good brain health.
“We are very much looking forward to working with the University of Sussex on such an important subject and helping them to get these vital messages out into the community.”
The first Brighton Brain Bus workshop will take place from 2pm to 4pm on Friday 4th March at St George’s Hall in Moulsecoomb, with other venues and dates to be announced via posters and flyers in local libraries, and on the dedicated Brighton Brain Bus social media channels: @BrightonBrainBus (Facebook & Instagram) and @BrightonBrain (Twitter).
Anyone aged 55 or over who lives or works in Brighton & Hove or the surrounding areas is welcome to attend the workshops. To take part, or for more information on venues and dates, contact email@example.com.