Contemporary visual art andIdentity construction – wellbeingamongst older peopleAHRC Cultural value projectAndrew Newman and Anna Goulding
Contents• Description of project– Aims and data collection• Analysis and results – what engagement withContemporary visual art does for people• The intrinsic / instrumental debate
Description of project• Funded by the New Dynamics of AgeingProgramme – 2 year project• Follow-on fund grant from ESRC forKnowledge transfer 1 year
Aims and data collection• To explore the relationships between olderpeople’s engagement with contemporaryvisual art, identity construction and sense ofwellbeing• 7 pre-existing groups – with and without priorengagement – visited three over a 2 yearperiod.• 4 venues – Contemporary visual art galleries inNE England
Analysis and results• Role of art in identity processes for olderpeople– Existing work on the role of cultural property –meanings that become embedded– Identity revision and maintenance (Kroger 2002)important for the wellbeing of older people
Analysis and results• links to aspects of identity prompted throughencounters with the art works
Analysis and results• Strong mutual support amongst some groupsenables them to overcome major psychosocialbarriers that would otherwise have preventedengagement.
Analysis and results• Those with a pre-existing engagement with artused the experience to deepen theirengagement with the field.
Analysis and results• A positive self image created throughengagement – feedback from environment
The intrinsic / instrumental debate• Impossible to see in the responses ofparticipants• Appears in the work of Vesteim (1994)• What is core to the experience of engagementwith art and what is not?