Translating Knowledge: Promoting Health through Intergenerational Community Arts Programming

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  • Introduction. Intergenerational programs have been touted to address the generation gaps and isolation of older adults. Mutual contact alone has produced mixed results, but attention to the intergenerational program content demonstrates well-being benefits. This practice-based article examines the benefits of creating and performing ensemble-created plays to older adults’ and university students’ well-being and the key processes that promote well-being. Method. This community participatory research project involved older adults as researchers as well as research subjects. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted by two trained interviewers with older adults (n = 15) and university students (n = 17). Results. Professional dramaturgical processes of storytelling, reminiscence, and playfulness were key elements in participants’ generative learning. They augmented older adults’ and university students’ ability to understand their situations and try innovative solutions. Skills such as openness, flexibility, and adaptation transferred into students’ and older adults’ daily lives. Conclusion. Participating in this intergenerational theatre group reduced ageism and improved intergenerational relationships. It increased older adults’ and university students’ well-being by building social networks, confidence, and self-esteem and developed a sense of social justice, empathy, and support for others.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2016 Anderson, S., Fast, J., Keating, N., Eales, J., Chivers, S. & Barnet, D. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Anderson, Sharon, Fast, Janet, Keating, Norah, Eales, Jacquie, Chivers, Sally, & Barnet, David. (2016). Translating Knowledge: Promoting Health through Intergenerational Community Arts Programming. Health Promotion Practice, 18(1), 15-25.
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