Beyond Autonomy and Language – Towards a Disability Studies’ Perspective on Dementia (CGD, Maastricht University)
The two year research project “Beyond Autonomy and Language” aimed to contribute to the development of a disability studies’ perspective on dementia. It sought to provide a theoretical basis to contemporary thinking about participatory citizenship of people with dementia. It focused on societal practices and discourses that seek to engage the ‘voice’ and articulate the subjectivity of people with dementia. The project combined empirical research of these practices and discourses with philosophical reflection on the presuppositions and consequences of these approaches for the conceptualization of the subject. The larger project included four case studies: representations subject-with-dementia in film and literature (Aagje Swinnen); articulation of the subject-with-dementia in clowning (Ruud Hendriks); mediation of the subject-with-dementia in assistive technology (Ike Kamphof); expression of subject-with-dementia in artistic practice (Annette Hendrikx).
Keeping disability studies’ adage “nothing about us, without us” in mind, the project reflected on (im)possibilities to incorporate the experiences of people with dementia in health care research (including our own!) and/or services. Articulating and listening to the voice of people with dementia themselves is inherently problematic, because dementia concerns an impairment of the ability to form and express thoughts and opinions. This project was thus especially interested in innovative efforts to engage with the ‘silent’ perspectives of people with dementia, often in combination with input of others who speak on behalf of people with dementia (health care professionals, family, designers, artists, et cetera).
This project secured funding from ZonMw (Program: Disability Studies in the Netherlands).
SIforAGE: Social Innovation on active and healthy ageing for sustainable economic growth (Grup Dedal-Lit, University of Lleida)
The general aim of SIforAGE project was to strengthen the cooperation mechanisms and tools among the stakeholders working along the value chain of active and healthy ageing, with the aim of improving the performance of the European Union competitiveness and growth, through research and innovative products for more and better lives.
The objective was to change minds and attitudes for a new vision of ageing. This new way of understanding ageing has been embraced under the concept of “active and healthy ageing” (AHA), as an inclusive term to framework the transformation of ageing vision.
The specific objectives addressed in the project were:
1. To develop the supporting tools and mechanisms for the Social Innovation Incubator on AHA
2. To engage and empower society and civil society organisations in research on AHA
3. To introduce evidence-based policymaking, through training activities with policymakers, to address future shaping of ageing research programmes and funding schemes
4. To raise awareness among the scientific community on the importance of social responsibility and ethics in ageing research, and offer practical guidance on how to address them.
5. To analyse and improve the existing mechanisms for accessing the market of innovative products and solutions for older people
6. To actively involve the wide range of stakeholders of the value chain and spread knowledge generated along the project duration
The consortium involved in the project was compounded of 20 different partners at EU and International level, representing a remarkable well-balanced consortium with complementary backgrounds and expertise and representing different stakeholders along the value chain of ageing research, from universities, civil society organisations, final users groups, think tanks, public administrations, technology research centers and companies. As member of the European Network in Ageing Studies (ENAS), the Dedal-Lit Reseach Group (UdL) was part of the SIforAGE consortium.
This project secured funding under the EU Seventh Framework Program (Theme: Science in Society, Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) Action Plans: mainstreaming SiS actions in research).
Aging and Gender in Contemporary Literary Creativity in English (Grup Dedal-Lit, University of Lleida)
This project looks into the ways in which aging and gender specificity interact in the literary works of aged women writers, and, at the same time, enquires into works of literary creation that contribute to the questioning of negative constructions and stereotypes of aging and to the emphasizing of the heterogeneity that characterizes the experience of aging. With this revision of traditional, negative and homogenizing constructs, an extensive range of representations of aging is opened up, representations that may be extrapolated and propagated in wider sectors of the present-day population.
Taking these complementary hypotheses as a point of departure, this project analyses the effects deriving from longevity and gender identity through the study of a number of contemporary women authors with an international dimension who have continued to write in their over-60s. In particular, our research will center on the late writing of American, British and Irish women authors representative of advanced and aging societies like our own and it will seek an answer to questions such as: What changes in the writing process of a woman author in her late age? Are thematic or formal changes observed which may also contribute to a new phase of experimentation in late age? Up to what point can these changes differ from those presented in the work of men writers of similar age and situation? In what way can literary creation modify individual and socio-cultural perceptions of the women writers’ identity as a woman in late age? Beyond the literary field, our project will seek to undermine stereotypes of passivity which often have been associated with late-aging and with women. For this reason, our research will also be useful in other fields of study, such as gerontology, psychology and sociology, and in each of these disciplines from the perspective of gender studies.
Financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity