Creative Methods in Ageing Studies Symposium

Wednesday 24th July 2019

Papers Presented

“The Mystical Scientist: In search of the fountain of youth” – Dawn Woolley (Leeds Arts University, UK)

“Essayesque dismemoir: w/rites of elderflowering” – Peta Murray (MRIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

“An Autoethnographic Co-constructed Poetic Inquiry into Older Irish Women’s Experiences of Identity” – Caroline Coyle (University of Gloucestershire, UK)

“Using the photographic self-portrait to represent the impact of medical interventions in relation to breast cancer on the older woman’s body” – Vicky Hodgson (University for the Creative Arts, UK)

“Memories, connectivity and wellbeing: the role of images in people’s interactions” – Daniela Treveri-Gennari and Niki McWilliams (Oxford Brookes University, UK)

“Just a few shades of grey? (re) defining age through colour” – Franziska Roeber (University of Dresden, Germany)

“Fashioning the Sixties” – Jackie Goode (Loughborough University, UK)

“Tactical Walking in the Urban Environment” – Bridie Moore (University of Huddersfield, UK)

“‘Cine-Ricordi’: co-creating an archive of women’s cinema history through personal memories and artefacts” – Daniela Treveri–Gennari (Oxford Brookes University, UK)

“Art & Design archives: methods, pedagogy and life stories” – Claudia Lima (University of Porto, Portugal)

“I’ve Hit Midlife Get Me Through This! – Screenwriting Workshop” – Caroline Knudsen (University of Gloucestershire, UK)  

Keynote: Dr Wendy Martin (Brunel University)  “From Visual to Material Methods: A Methodological Journey”


Whilst the Cultural Turn may have come quite late to ageing studies, in the last decade cultural perspectives have increasingly influenced the field, with new theorising, new methodologies, and new subject areas evident. Cultural Gerontology has therefore recast ageing studies, widening its theoretical, methodological and substantive scope (Twigg and Martin 2015a, 2015b). One of the key themes within Cultural Gerontology is the visual, reflected by both an enhanced focus on visual culture and an increase in the use of visual methods in ageing studies. My own research has utilised visual methods with people in mid to later life, including, the analysis of found visual images, photo-elicitation and participatory photography. The use of visual methods has moreover provided insights into how micro-processes of daily life are linked to wider socio-cultural processes, performative aspects of culture, made visible the mundane and taken-for-granted, elicited insights into social and embodied identities, and revealed meanings and understandings in context. More recently there has been a shift towards theories and methodologies around materiality in later life. Through the exploration of the role of stuff, things, dress, possessions, senses, technologies, spaces, design and environments in the experience and perception of ageing, materiality is seen to offer novel perspectives in which to explore the embodied lives of older people in everyday life. This paper will reflect on my methodological journey from visual to material methods and offer some methodological and theoretical insights that will include illustrations from my own research data.

•            Twigg, J.  and Martin, W.   (2015a) ‘The Challenge of Cultural Gerontology’. The Gerontologist, 55 (3).  pp. 353 – 359

•            Twigg, J.  and Martin, W.  editors (2015b) Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. London:  Routledge

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