We have moved!

Visit our new site The Australian Centre for Arts and Health

Arts and Health Australia

Anne Basting


Anne Basting, Professor of Theatre, UWM Peck School of the Arts, Augmented Faculty, UWM Zilber School for Public Health, UWM Ideas Challenge Fellow, Founder, President TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, Facilitator, The Creative Trust MKE, Author "Forget Memory - Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia"


"The arts are so much more than a program - they are a way of being in relationship, a way of being in the world."

Workshop: "The Role of Storytelling in Aged Care"

This interactive session will explore the relationship between storytelling and self, and how storytelling can build community among staff, families, elders, and volunteers.

Basting will share creative exercises from her work with TimeSlips Creative Storytelling (shifting from memory to imagination), and from her recent project - Arts At Home, in which she collaborated with Sojourn Theatre to develop artfully posed "Questions of the Day" to engage elders living alone or under-connected to their communities.

Conference Presentation: Creating a Common Language Through the Arts

To experience dementia is to experience gradual and increasing social isolation. When language fails us and stigma separates us, a silence settles in that can create a sense of solitary confinement - even in congregate care settings.

Basting shares stories of her 20 years of working in the arts and dementia - discovering how the arts can create a common and playful language that can bring us out of isolation and back into community and meaningful connection.

She addresses her work with TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, the 2011 Penelope Project, and most recently, an intergenerational project inspired by the 19th century novel Little Women.

After 20 years, Basting advocates a shift from special programs separating and targeting people with dementia toward inclusive arts projects that bring people with dementia into contact with their larger communities.


Anne Davis Basting (Ph.D.) is an educator, scholar and artist whose work focuses on the potential for the arts and humanities to improve our quality of life as communities and individuals.  For over 15 years, Anne Basting has developed and researched methods for embedding the arts into long term care, with a particular focus on people with cognitive disabilities like dementia.  Dr Basting is author of numerous articles and two books, Forget Memory: Creating better lives for people with dementia (2009) and The Stages of Age: Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture.

Anne gives keynote addresses across the world on the power and potential of creative engagement. This is her first visit to Australia.

Anne Basting is the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Brookdale National Fellowship, and numerous major grants. She is author and/or producer of a dozen plays and public performances, including Finding Penelope (2011), a play inspired by a year of intergenerational conversations about the myth of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, and professionally staged at Luther Manor, a long term care facility in Wisconsin.

She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota, and a Masters in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin.  Anne continues to direct the award-winning TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project, which she founded in 1998, and recently launched TimeSlips’ new (free!) interactive website, featuring a prompt library of over 100 images and questions, and bringing creative engagement to elders and their families wherever they live. 

Anne Basting was Founding Director of UWM's Center on Age and Community from 2003 to 2013, where she fostered partnerships between scholars, students, and service providers, and translated applied research into innovative educational tools including manuals, films, and social media. 

In 2013, Anne Basting returned to the Department of Theatre to focus on integrating her research and creative practice into teaching.  Her teaching focus includes Performing Community, Playwriting, Storytelling, Play Analysis, and Creative Engagement in Health Settings. Anne is working toward a moment when the arts are an integral element in our care systems.