Beyond health and well-being: new research published

Jonathan Clark

Jonathan Clark (Head of Research) and Kate Wakeling (Trinity Laban Research Fellow on the Retired Not Tired programme) have published an important new paper that researches the impact of Trinity Laban's arts work with older people.

Their paper, Beyond health and well-being: transformation, memory and the virtual in older people’s music and dance, appears in the latest edition of the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, and explores transformational experiences of memory and anticipation among a cohort of older people engaged in Trinity Laban’s Dance for Health and All Singing All Dancing sessions.

Participant observation was carried out over 16 months, by attending weekly classes in singing and dance, alongside conducting discussions with participants. In addition, a voluntary 12-week ‘dance diary’ project was conducted with participants from the creative dance class, where volunteers were invited to record personal reflections on each week’s session across the term, which were then shared with the researchers at the project’s close.

Previous research exploring older people and the participatory arts has tended to focus on notions of biomedical impact, often coupled with appeals to evasive notions of ‘‘well-being.’’ Rather than suggesting such approaches are invalid, the authors propose that they could be extended still further, and suggest an alternative, critical approach to analysing older people’s experience of arts classes. The paper explores the complex processes and possibilities of transformation that the participatory arts can initiate, examining how performance can create intriguing linkages between past, present and future experiences.

You can read the full chapter on the Lingköping University website.

Trinity Laban’s trailblazing Retired not Tired programme offers weekly singing, creative dance, and combined creative dance and singing sessions for participants aged 60+. Some places are still available for 2015-16 in the All Singing, All Dancing group. Visit the Trinity Laban website for information and to book a place.