Where art meets technology

Pencil drawing of elderly care home resident

Landscapes of Cross Generational Engagement is an ESRC funded project led by Professor Peter Wright of Lab4Living, Dr. Mark Blythe and Professor William Gaver.¬† The work explores ways that digital technologies can promote older people’s engagement with their physical and social environments and encourage new forms of interaction with younger people.

Two groups of people have been participating in the research: residents of a care home and cloistered nuns in an Abbey. The ‘older old’ people in their late eighties, nineties and hundreds are very seldom considered in studies of technology use. Most of the residents in the care home are in their nineties and some nearing their centenary. The average age of the sisters of Poor Clare in the Abbey is eighty. These very different groups of people were invited to participate in the research in order to recognise that ‘elderly people’ are not all the same. Rather than define old age as a set of disabilities, the project sought to focus on people with diverse values and lifestyles.

Professor Peter Wright describes the work in this way, ‘Many older people though choice or necessity live together in collective homes of various sorts and much has been said of the nature of such institutions. They can be places of refuge and asylum or containment and isolation. I am interested in finding out ways that¬†technology can help older people living together in institutions to maintain or regain the experience of engagement with their environment, with children and with the community’.

Project updates

Lab4Living, Sheffield Hallam University,
Furnival Building, 153 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU
Phone 0114 225 6753 | Fax 0114 225 6931