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Accepted Paper:

Meaningfulness in the making: Emplaced, material, and embodied meanings experienced during creative leisure occupations, in context of ageing  
Tamar Amiri (University of Humanistic Studies)Aagje Swinnen Merel Visse Ton Satink (HAN Univserity of Applied Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

Creative leisure occupations offer pathways for meaningfulness through material, spatial and social entanglements. Innovatively combining qualitative methods, this study takes an emplaced and embodied stance to examine meanings of creative leisure in everyday environments, in context of ageing.

Paper long abstract:

Midlife is a dynamic period, prone to challenging age-related transitions that impact roles, identity, and wellbeing, and often accompanied by a lack of meaningfulness. Everyday creative occupations of arts and crafts are undervalued as pathways for meaning yet offer unique opportunities to explore embodied and emplaced entanglements between person, environment, and occupation, as experienced in ageing. This paper presents a phenomenological study of lived experiences of meaningfulness during arts and crafts, asking: how do creative leisure occupations provide space for meaningfulness to emerge, in context of midlife transitions?

Combining an innovative mixture of sensory ethnography, visual methods, and interpretative phenomenological analysis, this study employs a creative and embodied stance to investigate the socio-materiality and spatiality of creative activities during midlife. Meaningful occupations such as knitting, upholstery, and sculpture are studied through prisms of sensory-rich embodied cognitions and emplaced creative practices that shape - and are shaped by - the ageing body. The triangulation of data through multiple qualitative methods enables intriguing intersections of pre-reflexive, visual, and verbal expressions of meaningfulness. This enables fresh exploration of interconnections that lie between the sensory, material, spatial, and social aspects of meaningfulness in midlife.

First empirical findings are presented through interview extracts, photo-elicitation vignettes, and sensory ethnography diaries. Shining light on both process and product, meaningfulness in the lives of people in midlife is shown to emerge through slow making of tangible, sensory-rich artefacts; skilled interactions with materials and tools; and emplacement of creative occupations in domestic and community spaces.

Panel P017
Spaces of Ageing - New Horizons of Mobility and Materiality in Later Life [Age and Generations Network]