Ageing alterities: New horizons for anthropology of ageing and the life-course
October–November 2021, on Zoom
In this slow online conference organised by the EASA Age and Generations Network, we explored new horizons for the anthropology of ageing by reflecting on different forms of intergenerational participation and alternative ways to frame ageing experiences within new social, cultural, political, and technological contexts. We explored different ways of involving various audiences and a wide range of participants. This included discussions on anthropological engagement with new methods (visual, sensorial, digital and play!), in and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two new larger AGENET initiatives have been launched at this conference. First has been the formal establishment of our new Ethics Collective of AGENET. The Collective held an interactive workshop to think about how we, as anthropologists of ageing and generations, can collectively address ethical challenges that we encounter in our ethnographic work with older adults who live with cognitively impaired conditions. Second, we have launched the inaugural Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA 2021), which is a joint initiative of AGENET, VANEASA and AAGE. We hope this award and exhibition will open the debate on how ageing and the life-course can be explored through the emergent and creative methods.
We hope that the series of plenary talks, workshops, exhibitions, and keynotes will provoke more inclusive approaches to ageing imaginaries that evoke the complex assemblages of care, control, relatedness, hope and experimentation within and across generations and the life-course.
Week 1– NEW HORIZON: RE-THINKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT LEISURE AND PLAY ACROSS THE LIFE-COURSE
The first week of the slow conference featured a keynote lecture and participatory workshop about play and leisure in later life. Both events were delivered by Dr Carrie Ryan. The talk called for renewed anthropological attention to the social importance of play and games in old age, while the workshop invited attendees to think about the place of play in their fieldwork.
To read more about the keynote and workshop, click here.
Week 2 – NEW HORIZON: ANTHROPOLOGIES OF AGEING AND CARE DURING THE PANDEMIC
The second week of the slow conference involved two sessions related to anthropological research on/during Covid-19. Dr Erica Borgstrom opened the plenary session, followed by a workshop organized by Dr Matthew Lariviere. The talk focussed on the Open University funded project, and set out to capture the diverse, lived experience of our students, alumni and staff during the pandemic in relation to the themes of death, dying, bereavement, grief and loss. Also discussed were the strategies for successful self-publishing. In turn, the workshop explored challenges and opportunities for anthropological research focused on ageing and generations during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. AGENET members were invited to share their individual experiences to illustrate how they worked with older people and other interlocutors during the pandemic.
To read more about the week’s sessions, click here.
Week 3 – NEW HORIZON: INCLUSIVE ETHICS IN/FOR AGEING RESEARCH
The third week involved a workshop about how to make the ethics of fieldwork with older and cognitively impaired participants more inclusive. This workshop is part of the AGENET’s Ethics Collective initiative launched to support researchers in addressing ethical issues they encounter during ethnographic work with cognitively impaired people in Europe and beyond. The session was facilitated by Cristina Douglas, Barbara Pieta, Dr Matthew Lariviere and Professor Maria Vesperi. The workshop started by breaking into small working groups. Each group discussed a concrete situation which created an ethical issue during ethnographic research with participants who live with cognitively impairing condition. In the second part of the workshop, we reunited in the main room and discussed each situation in dialogue with the researcher directly involved in the debated case.
To read more about the workshop, click here.
Week 4 – NEW HORIZON: AGEING THROUGH VISUAL AND CREATIVE METHODS [in collaboration with VANEASA and AAGE]
The fourth week focused on multi-modal, creative, and visual methods in anthropological research on ageing. The week featured the inaugural keynote by Professor Paolo Favero and launched the Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA 2021), a joint distinction by AGENET, VANEASA and AAGE. In the keynote, Professor Paolo SH Favero focused on emergent collaborative audio-visual/sensory approaches, and their crucial role in creating ethnographic relations and stories of life, love and death.
To read more about the keynote, click here.
With Professor Paolo SH Favero’s keynote, we have celebrated the launching of the Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA 2021). The final week also included the award-giving and presentations of the works that entered the AVA 2021 Official Selection. The event was facilitated by Barbara Pieta, and included the presentations by Daniel Miller, Laura Haapio-Kirk and Charlotte Hawkins of the Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Ageing (ASSA), Angélica Cabezas Pino, Mark Lindenberg, Julian David Loaiza Pineda, Jón Bjarki Magnússon, Alvaro Martinez, Rajat Nayyar, Celeste Pang, Victoria Sakti, José Sherwood González and Sophia van Ghesel Grothe.