At the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies we love to show off the awesome people who are responsible for our successful work. This time we’ve asked Dr Vasileios Stamou some get-to-know-you questions that will help you to see him behind his job role.
Name: Vasileios Stamou
Born (Place): Thessaloniki, Greece
Job Title: Research Assistant
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
My interest in research with people with mental health conditions was triggered during my MA studies and the following years of professional and research activity, as I was intrigued by the research evidence on the therapeutic benefits of music. In 2012, I moved to France where I completed my PhD studies on the therapeutic benefits of music when combined with cognitive behavioural interventions for substance addiction treatment. By the time I successfully defended my thesis, I knew what I wanted to do in my life; that was to conduct research which focuses on bringing positive real-life changes to those affected by mental health conditions, who are often socially marginalised. In the autumn of 2016, I found out about the work conducted in the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies in the University of Bradford, which had exactly the same focus. When I applied for the post of research assistant in the ANGELA Project, I was initially very curious about the particularities of the field of young onset dementia, as the name itself was indicative of a contrast regarding what society widely thinks: dementia and young do not go together! Well, they actually do, so when I asked and received more information about the project, the first thing I said to myself was: “I want to be a part of this. I want to be a part of the team that does research with people, not for people or on people; a team that is really looking to make a difference in real life”. I was later offered the post of research assistant in the ANGELA Project, on which I have been working for the last two years and a half, to improve the diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people with dementia and their families/supporters in the UK.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Current and past interests, and jobs
My background is quite diverse. I completed my BA in Music (Jazz) and MA in Music Research in Middlesex University, London. I then went back to Greece where I engaged in a music career involving performing, teaching, and research. At a certain point in my life, research won me over and I completely gave up performing to follow an academic career. Since then, I completed my PhD studies in Psychology, after which I taught in a postgraduate course entitled “Music and Society” in the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki, Greece. I worked there as an adjunct lecturer for two years and taught music therapy and music pedagogy students about research methods and how music can be used for therapeutic purposes in substance addiction treatment, as well as for social inclusion. I was also part of a European collaboration between Greece, France and the UK, which was entitled MUS.I.C.D.A.RE. This collaboration was a strategic partnership that involved research and training on the use of music as an additive treatment modality in substance addiction treatment. Since December 2016, I have been working in the University of Bradford for the ANGELA Project, which aims to improve the diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people with dementia and their families/supporters in the UK.
Places you have lived and visited
My life has been ‘nomadic’ in a sense, with all related beauties and challenges embraced, as I have lived in three different countries and seven different cities during the last ten years. I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece, where I lived and worked until my 20 years of age. I then left for London where between 2000 and 2005 I completed my BA and MA studies. I returned to Greece after my studies to work as a performing musician, music teacher, and researcher until the financial crisis hit the country really hard. Despite the negative circumstances at the time, I saw an opportunity to grow and pursue my dreams in a world with no limits. I found my wife and myself moving to France for the following years, where I completed my PhD studies in Aix-Marseille University. Being a foreigner in the city of Paris with, initially, very little knowledge of the French language involved a lot of challenges but also great opportunities to see life with fresh eyes and understand that it is really a journey. So, I decided to make this journey as meaningful as possible by aligning my career aspirations with helping other people via something I really loved: research!
What two things do you consider yourself to be very good at?
This would be quite a difficult question to answer as it is usually others who can best answer this kind of questions for us. I would like to think that I am good at listening to other people, empathising, and communing with other people. For me, the latter is one of the greatest and most beautiful unspoken mysteries of life.
What two things do you consider yourself to be less good at?
I am not very good at being patient enough to wait for things to happen and always want to make them happen faster! I also do not know how to drive!
Where/How do you see yourself in the next three to five years?
Hopefully, still engaged in research focusing on improving the quality of life of people with mental health conditions, and with a big happy family!