Julia Henderson is a recent graduate of a PhD in Theatre Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral research explored how theatre and performance practices contribute to cultural constructions of aging and old age. At this time, Julia has received 2-year SSHRC funding to work with Dr. Kim Sawchuk and ACT. Her SSHRC-funded postdoctoral research will re-imagine dementia tragedy narratives and the concept of ‘assistance’ by employing a community-engaged, creative arts intervention involving persons with dementia and their caregivers. The approach will incorporate digital media with live theatrical performance for the purpose of creatively developing novel dramaturgies of assistance (Henderson 2018) that support all performers including those with memory loss. Henderson recently published her preliminary work on dramaturgy of assistance in Research in Drama Education: Henderson, Julia. “Dramaturgy of Assistance: Performing with Dementia or Age-Related Memory Loss.” Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol. 24, no. 1, 2019, pp. 72-89, doi:10.1080/13569783.2018.1548272.
Julia’s research on dramaturgies of aging also offers insights to theatre practitioners on how dramatic structure, design, staging, performance style, and marketing might influence understandings of age. Julia is engaged in research collaborations including: UBC’s Interdisciplinary Aging Research Cluster, UBC’s Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, UBC’s Medical and Health Humanities Working Group, UBC’s Arts in Health Community of Practice, and the Vancouver Foundation-funded project “Raising the Curtain on the Lived Experience of Dementia” (PI Dr. Colleen Reid, Douglas College). A SSHRC and Killam supported scholar, Julia has three times received honourable mention for the Robert G. Lawrence emerging scholar prize at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research national conference. Her work has been published in Theatre Research in Canada, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Journal, Canadian Theatre Review and Age, Culture, Humanities.