ACT members on CKUT radio in Montreal

ACT members will be alongside partners Respecting Elders Communities against Abuse (RECAA) on the Older Women Live (OWL) radio programme on CKUT in Montreal. They will discuss the recent food blog project, and will talk about the longstanding collaboration between ACT and RECAA that spans creative and research projects. Listen in on Wednesday, March 8 at 6pm on CKUT (90.3) in Montreal.

ACT at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference

Join us later this week, as several members of ACT present at the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference as part of panels organized by NWSA’s Caucus on Ageing and Ageism. The conference is being held from November 10th to 13th at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. The full conference program is available here.


PANEL I: Unsettling the Linear Logic of Age: Narrating Complexity in Later Life (Friday, November 11, 11am – 12:15pm)

Captives of Care: Margaret Atwood’s “Torching the Dusties”
Ulla Kriebernegg, University of Graz

This paper analyses Margaret Atwood’s short story “Torching the Dusties” as a representation of the fourth age as exile. In Atwood’s story, in which a violent anti-elderly mob sets out to burn down nursing homes, the care home as a space of exclusion is a spatial metaphor for the experience associated with old age. A metaphorical reading of such narratives can take us from the concrete to the abstract level, and allow us to think about life on a radical and existential level, leading us to ask the question whether there is an “ideal place” to live and grow old.


PANEL II: Re-Imagining Aging: Creativity in Later Life (Saturday, November 12, 1:45 – 3:00 pm)

Resistance of the Gaze: Women’s Self-Im/Aging
Magdalena Olszanowski, Concordia University

Our ostensibly ubiquitous image-based technology culture is an affront to the aging population. Its image/inary of older women depends on lack of access to technologies for these women and their hyper-invisibility (Meagher 2014). What tactics are women using to resist this ageist culture? For this presentation, I will foreground the multiplicity and incoherence of the gaze by asking how aging women challenge conventional patterns of looking and subsequently demonstrate pleasure in being looked at via image-based technologies. I will use two examples: 1) the feminist resistance of aging self-imaging artists 2) feminist activist imaging work with elders in Montreal.


From PAR to CARR: Media-making and the Art of Activist Ageing
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University

This paper explores media-making with communities of older adults and institutions (public libraries, social housing groups, and activist organizations) in Montreal to re-imagine what it means to age as an activist in a digitally networked society. Drawing on feminist methods for community engagement through the arts (Cohen-Cruz 2006), PAR/participatory action research (Blair and Minkler 2009) I build on Virginia Eubanks’ CARR or Collaborative Action and Reflection Research (Eubanks 2011) and add “creative” as an essential element to her methodological reflections.


PANEL III: Borders of Belonging in Later Life: Old Age in Indigenous, Minority, and Resistant Communities (Sunday, November 13, 8:00 – 9:15 am)

Ageing Across Species Boundaries
Constance Lafontaine, Concordia University & David Madden, Concordia University 

Our paper seeks to emphasize the multiplicity and the connectedness of ageing bodies and life courses by conducting interviews with older women in Montreal, Quebec who share their lives with cats. We seek to explore and vex the notion of “cat ladies,” a term that connotes an older single woman who shares her life with a multiplicity of cats, but a term that also entails the dismissal of a later life lived outside of heteronormative expectations. We explore and record dismissed personal narratives of interspecies love and co-aging that exist through time and across species boundaries.

Shannon Hebblethwaite presents on “Grannie’s on the net” at McGill University

Shannon Hebblethwaite, Assistant professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University, will present her ACT-funded study on the uses of Facebook for family communication. This comparative case study brings together research on social media use, specifically Facebook, in Romania and Canada. The purpose of the study is to investigate how grandmothers communicate with grandchildren who move far away from home. The presentation, titled “Grannie’s on the net: Intergenerational communication on Facebook” will take place on October 25, 2016 at 3:30pm in the Wendy Patrick Room on the first floor of Wilson Hall at McGill University.

More information about the talk is available by consulting this poster.

ACT members at the International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population

ACT members Andrea Rosales, Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol, Margarida Romero and Eugène Loos were involved in the Second International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population (, 17-22 July 2016, Toronto, Canada. They organized and chaired the following invited sessions: New media in the everyday life of older people and Silver Gaming.

They also presented several papers, published by Springer; J. Zhou & G. Salvendy (Eds.) Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Healthy and Active Aging, Second International Conference, ITAP 2016, Held as Part of HCI International 2016 Toronto, ON, Canada, July 17–22, 2016, Proceedings, Part I and II:

  • Eugène Loos & Annemiek Zonneveld: Silver Gaming: Serious Fun for Seniors?
  • Margarida Romero & Hubert Ouellet: Scaffolding Digital Game Design Activities Grouping Older Adults, Younger Adults and Teens
  • Andrea Rosales & Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol: Generational Comparison of Simultaneous Internet Activities Using Smartphones and Computers

Statistics Canada Study on Women in Canada features a chapter on Senior Women

The recent Statistics Canada Study on Women in Canada features a chapter on older women, titled Senior Women. The report, published in March 2016, features data as recent as 2015 and provides comparative analyses of various topics, including demographic trends, internet use, employment rates of older women and social participation. Summary points are available in the press release and the full report is also available on the Statistics Canada website.

Art for Social Change: WEAAD event on June 9


To mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, elders make waves towards an age friendly city.

On Thursday June 9th, Montreal-based groups RECAA, Union United Church and Le Groupe Herencias/Encounters project will join forces with their partners to bring community awareness to the importance of an age friendly city in preventing elder abuse. Starting at 11 am, local groups, including mostly seniors, will meet at the Lionel-Groulx metro and march to the Union United Church. Once at the church, lunch will be served. There will be speeches and more arts-based interventions. The purpose of the day’s activities is to engage the public with work that is being done by local groups to prevent elder abuse. Under the banner of “Elders Make Waves towards an Age Friendly City”, the groups have been focusing on issues of accessible transportation, social inclusion, and health and social services. This event is being held in anticipation of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), which happens annually on June 15th. Media and the public are invited to join.

Date of Event: Thursday, June 9 (11am to 3pm)

Location of Event: Lionel-Groulx metro (at 11am) and the Union United Church, 3007 Delisle Street (12pm-3pm)

RECAA receives funding for Food Forums project


We are pleased to announce that RECAA (Respecting Elders, Communities Against Abuse) has received funding from New Horizons Seniors for an exciting new project called “Food Forums: Recipes for Interaction, Inclusion and Social Engagement.” Over the next year, members of RECAA will cook, take photos, write blog posts, record stories, host meals, and create recipe cards as they work together to counter elder abuse and isolation.

The project will include, in part, the creation of a food blog that intends to foster conversation, participation, and inclusion among the group and within the community. Ultimately, RECAA’s goal is to include elders’ voices in a primarily youth-dominated, foodie culture that has taken the Internet and social media by storm in recent years. Restaurant Day, which has been growing in popularity every year, is noticeably attended by younger people. Members of RECAA want to change that. They plan to host an elders’ led “restaurant” for Montreal’s Restaurant Day in August. By including elders’ voices in a youth-dominated foodie culture, RECAA hopes to continue to build intergenerational relationships and diversify dialogues around food, meal sharing, and inclusivity.

RECAA’s inspiration for writing this grant application emerged for two reasons. First, the group was looking to diversify their communication approach. After twelve years of using Forum Theatre as their primary mode of expression, members of RECAA were looking for new modes of expression, new strategies for community engagement, and different approaches to public outreach. Second, RECAA realized that their close-knit group dynamic has emerged through years of sharing ideas and stories during lunch breaks. Great things have happened around the table. These informal, meal time conversations tightened their friendships and sparked creative inspiration. For RECAA, formalizing the meals and sharing their knowledge through digital platforms seemed like a step in a refreshing but familiar direction. The Food Forum project will allow RECAA to explore creative new approaches to bringing awareness to elder abuse and mistreatment.

ACT-affiliated students will have the chance to be involved in the digital aspects of this project as well. Students will provide digital media workshops to RECAA members and will contribute to training members in photography, audio recording, and blog writing. ACT students will also have the opportunity to learn new recipes and cooking skills from members of RECAA.

RECAA is an important community partner of ACT. As an organization, RECAA has been talking with communities about forms of elder mistreatment for over twelve years. Members of RECAA come from diverse backgrounds and reflect the ethnocultural and multilingual diversity of Montreal. Members are of South Asian, Caribbean, European, South East Asian, African, Canadian, and Latin descent. RECAA uses theatre, specifically, Forum Theatre, as a medium to address themes of neglect, disrespect, and isolation. Members of RECAA have worked with ACT students in the past and this new project will present exciting new opportunities for more intergenerational exchanges.