University of Tasmania
Webb_whole_thesis.pdf (44.9 MB)

I only look forward to Mondays‚ÄövÑvp : facilitating creative writing groups : ageism, action and empowerment

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posted on 2023-05-27, 11:25 authored by Webb, JM
This study examines the changes, which occur when introducing residents in aged care facilities (RACFs) to creative experiences, specifically poetry and short prose. This is explored qualitatively by working with groups of residents in two Tasmanian RACFs. The theoretical background, research and methodology of this project examine how participatory creative activities, which produce both individual and communal writing, is beneficial to the wellbeing of residents in aged care facilities in Tasmania. This study uses Action Research as a methodology. Its flexibility enabled the project to grow, broaden intellectual concepts and deepen my understanding of arising issues. As a relationship developed between residents, and between residents and myself, we changed with each newly shared experience. Action Research is responsive to change and the cyclical process assists in reflecting on what has occurred; this enables critical planning to improve the creative process. The cycle of 'plan, act, observe and reflect' encouraged me to work collaboratively with members of the two groups; demonstrating two or more minds are better than one. Our developing communal reflection led us to the next cyclical challenge. This study encompasses the role of creativity in Australian RACFs and there is critical examination of the broader setting of Government policy and planning, in relation to the wellbeing of residents in RACFs. The focus of the study enlarged to the international field for examples of creative expression in other countries that perceive the value of creative expression, and are using this as a method that aims to benefit the frail aged in institutions. It is widely held there is an important relationship between the physical brain and human expressions of creativity. My investigations and experience with my two creative writing groups concurred: factors that reduce creativity are lack of confidence, negative feedback and domination of existing dogma. Using data from the creative writing groups, and research beyond these experiences, factors were identified that affect outcomes from writing groups. Action Research underpinned the project beyond the confines of the room in an aged care facility, to the capacity for growth in the frail aged, where environmental, social and political circumstances permit.


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