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Arts-based reminiscence through visual art and narrative analysis: An intergenerational exploration

Emily J. Mills, BA, Lauren S. Seifert, PhD, Clare Murray Adams, MFA

Abstract


Objective: To celebrate memory through intergenerational reminiscence that led to the creation of Keepsake Boxes and to the cultivation of lively narratives about them. In Western cultures, adults more than 65 years of age are often subjected to negative and condescending attitudes. Yet they are one of our greatest resources—possessing life experience and wisdom. The current research study sought to oppose ageism and affirm the value of aging adults through reminiscence, expressive art, visual analysis, and narrative analysis. In an intergenerational collaboration, a multimethod and trans-disciplinary approach was used to investigate an arts-based reminiscence activity. With a focus on problem solving, the authors drew upon theory, research, and methods from art, psychology, gerontology, and literary analysis. Dialogic process, narrative analysis, qualitative research techniques, and visual methods were cultivated. All participants took an art class that focused on one of their chosen, significant memories. The researchers used both narrative and visual methods to respond to participants’ artwork and narrative explanations. This project provides an example of the use of multiple methodologies within a trans-disciplinary framework to help engage adults across generations in reminiscence and reflection. It reasserts a positive role of art activities in elder life and of intergenerational collaboration in arts-based research.


Keywords


art interventions, ABR, eldercare, memory, arts-based activities, elders, intergenerational

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2014.0077

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