University of Tasmania

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Reclaiming the self: How older people perceive and experience their ageing

posted on 2023-05-25, 13:39 authored by Peta CookPeta Cook
Ageism, which refers to prejudice based a set of ideas, attitudes and beliefs regarding chronological age and the ageing process, is common experience for older people (Bytheway 1995). This is witnessed in the prevalence of social stereotypes and myths which, when it comes to older age, assert overwhelming negative, standardised judgements on personality, cognitive function, levels of social connections and integration, and physical appearance and performance (Thorton 2002). Unfortunately, unlike other forms of discrimination such as disablism, racism, and sexism, ageism is ubiquitous and widely socially accepted. It was expected that as the baby boomer (post-World War II) generation neared and entered retirement, this would alter the negative social attitudes towards ageing (Boyle and Morriss 1984). The social embedding and prevalence of ageism, however, means it is hard to challenge and, as a result, there has been little to no change. Intergenerational programs and events are one way to achieve this which, in general, involves older and younger generations coming into contact with each other and working together on shared projects (Fletcher 2007). The impacts of such programs, however, are unlikely to affect a wider public audience. Similarly, the use of visual research methods has the potential to challenge ageism by allowing older people to represent their own ageing, given the devaluing of ageing in visual imagery (Twigg 2013). Translating such work beyond academia, however, has been limited. Drawing on my project, Reclaiming the Self, which employed a visual research method to examine how older people construct their age, I will examine how I have translated my research into contexts outside of academia. This has included art exhibitions and public outreach. I will explore these activities, and provide insight into the positive and challenging aspects of undertaking such community engagement.



Photographic exhibition


School of Social Sciences


1 - 2 December 2017

Event Venue

Wilsmore Lecture Theatre, University of Western Australia, Perth

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in human society

Usage metrics

    Non-traditional research outputs



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