Welcome to “Late-Life Creativity and the ‘New Old Age'”

Welcome to the website for “Late-Life Creativity and the ‘New Old Age’: arts & humanities and gerontology in critical dialogue”, an AHRC-funded network project developed in partnership by Keele University and King’s College London.

The project’s co-investigators are both professors of English literature, but the network will involve a very wide range of participants from many fields in arts & humanities, gerontology, medicine and psychiatry, all of whom see the potential of dialogue with each other and with practitioners, performers and older people involved in creativity or the encouragement of creativity.

Between March and November 2012, the project will host four workshops – two will take place at Keele and two at King’s – on themes that we see as central to the issues with which we seek to engage: memory, identity, ‘late style’, and community.

This project represents, we believe, a series of opportunities: for arts & humanities scholars to learn from the activist and multi-disciplinary tradition of gerontological research – which has always sought to translate ideas into actions designed to enhance social inclusion – and, perhaps, to inform policy and practice in gerontology; for gerontologists to learn from the methodologies deployed and research questions asked by arts & humanities scholars; and for both groups to learn from and inform those who work practically in the relevant fields: writers, performers, older people involved in creative activity and those involved in the theory, practice and policy of old-age care.

The ideas developed will, we hope, help to give shape to interdisciplinary research and to thinking about policy for the future. This, in turn, will help generate new openings for the engagement of higher education with later life and specifically with late-life creativity, both in research and in practice.

The network will draw together, and place in dialogue, a broad range of people involved in a variety of ways with the questions of the long life and of late-life creativity: arts & humanities scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives and traditions; archivists, creative artists and performers; social scientists and medical practitioners; social care practitioners; and older people as social activist, performers and consumers.