Accepted paper:

On Aging Well in Canada: Transdisciplinarity, Technology, and Co-Creating the 'AGE-WELL Way'


Leslie Carlin (University of Toronto)
Samantha Sandassie
Euson Yeung
Hedieh Najafi

Paper short abstract:

A Canadian network for developing technology for older adults explicitly includes older adults in co-creating knowledge about socio-material aspects of life in later years. Applying an anthropological sensibility interrogates the project goals and serves to strengthen research and training efforts.

Paper long abstract:

A sociomaterial approach holds that the technical and the social are inherently, intrinsically entwined in organizations. Researchers have called this field "gerontechnology". Peine and Neven (2019) argue that both the fields of social gerontology and science and technology studies are necessary to build a research framework that does not pre-suppose the need for intervention. AGE-WELL, Canada's federally-funded "technology and aging network", declares as its aim to develop "real-world solutions that will make a meaningful impact on the lives of Canadian seniors and caregivers"; in other words, pre-supposing problems and striving toward solutions. In this paper, we discuss ways in which the participants in AGE-WELL, including researchers from multiple disciplines, clinicians, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, older adults, and trainees interact to define the spaces in which they can co-create knowledge about age-related needs and innovations to address them in 'the AGE-WELL way'. Using and teaching a transdisciplinary approach, and explicitly attending to ethics, to cultural safety, to inclusion, equity and diversity, serve both to ground and complicate project aims. We suggest that using innovative anthropological methods to incorporate potential users of technology-based solutions in their development covers some of the distance between pre-supposition and the development of a strong research framework.

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