Promoting elderly people agency From exclusion to inclusion.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientific


The presentation will explore specific strategies and approaches to socially engaged art practices by describing practical examples with community-based projects with elderly people. Art education and Social work at the University of Lapland have collaborated several years by organizing art workshops for elderly people. The presentation is based on question what could be the special role that use of contemporary art can have in promoting elderly people agency and what are the principles of art’s eff on wellbeing. The main body of the presentation focus on the use of the contemporary art practices, and the possibilities and challenges when connecting multidisciplinary approaches, different generations and working cultures in the elderly care home context.

The residents must be given the opportunity to participate, participation and actorship must be allowed and the possibilities have to been seen instead of the obstacles. The traditional working culture can lead into excluding elderly people from the participation. Facilitators need to receive training specifically for working with older adults to include the inappropriateness of holding ‘deficit’ models of aging which can lead them to underestimate the capabilities of older people and not offer them sufficient challenge. The participants need to be given learning goals and opportunities to use multiples mediums, opportunities need to be made available for intergenerational work, too.

The presentation will conclude to the notions how complex the question of ageing is. The findings from the collaboration between art education and social work underline that art can serve communal and participatory values and can stimulate everyday routines by providing opportunities to see and think about matters in a new and different way. The central conclusion is that the collaboration with community-based art education and social work could contribute to changing the status of older people, from exclusion to inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design

Citation for this output