An Occasional Cobra


Shirley, Peter and Frances lived in the same room in a care home (room 21) one after the other. Despite never meeting their stories show some remarkable similarities.

‘An Occasional Cobra’ aims to show how their stories can be unpicked and interpreted. Over coming months experts from the fields of neurology, linguistics, poetry and the arts will each add their annotations to the texts. 

The project will explore how the architecture of the care home – filtered through a lens of dementia - impacted on their narratives and, in turn, their narratives came to effect their perceptions of the physical space and the objects around them.


Books & Notes



Molly Andrews; Professor of Sociology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research in London.

Prof Alison Wray; Professor of Language and Communication at Cardiff University. She specialises in researching the 'formulaic' language (such as repetitions and routines) that are used by people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Dominic Ffytche; Senior lecturer and consultant at the Institute for Psychiatry in London. He runs a Visual Perceptual Disorder Clinic at the Maudsley Hospital in London. His main research interests are the neural mechanisms of visual perception and their dysfunction.

Dr Andrea Capstick; Lecturer in Dementia Studies with Bradford Dementia Group at the University of Bradford. She has a particular interest in visual and participatory research methods, and in arts-based education.

Hannah Zeilig; Research Fellow at King’s College London and at the University of East Anglia. Her research focuses on the stories told about ‘dementia’. She is currently developing an arts based approach to training care home staff who work with people living with dementia.

Peter Whitehouse; Geriatric neurologist, cognitive neuroscientist, bioethicist and author. Early in his career he was first author of papers that describe the loss of cells in the cholinergic forebrain, which contributed the current generation of Alzheimer drugs. With Danny George he coauthored the book 'The Myth of Alzheimer’s: what you aren’t being told about today’s most dreaded diagnosis' . He lives in Cleveland and Toronto working on strategic innovation in intergenerational learning and (brain) health.

Becky Shaw makes artworks that use text, performance, object and image to explore how the material world and people interrelate. She is currently course leader for BA Creative Art Practice, Sheffield Hallam University.

Sarah Butler; novelist and literature worker. She has a particular interest in the relationship between writing and place.