This interdisciplinary, arts-and humanities-based research employs digital strategies to seek out, assemble, and imaginatively re-present stories of aging.
Through the creation of a web-based, interactive, hypertext fiction game that explores age-related frailty in older age, the goal of this project is to demonstrate the special affordances of a digital approach to Age Studies. The purpose of developing an interactive, hypertext fiction game (a Twine), is to foster greater understanding of competing experiences of both aging and elder care.
As a project outcome, this story is ideally poised to function as a research-inspired educational resource relevant to:
- Students in a range of aging-related educational streams (e.g., anthropology, social work, gerontology, and medical subspecialties like geriatrics and care of the elderly),
- Older persons with interest in web-based representations of aging experiences, and
- Adult caregivers who are interested in creative web-based resources that make use of storytelling as an aspect of caregiving and community-building.
The project will align with “empathy training” approaches to humanities-based engagements with health experience (Jones, Wear, Friedman 2014).
Fieldwork will involve information gathering and prototype testing with a convenience sample of older persons, caregivers, and geriatrics-oriented health professionals.
Prototype testing of 1) story outlines, and later 2) the Twine story itself will take place with a convenience sample of stakeholders represented in the game: community-dwelling older adults, health/medical professionals, and adult caregivers. These tests will serve as a form of member-checking (to use the language of qualitative research) to ensure that the story rings true, or at the very least plausible within the realm of realistic fiction and, very importantly, to make sure the story is creatively and aesthetically valuable.
This project’s dedication to collaborative methods and interactive research-creation outcomes aim to make it a source of accessible, creative and, above all, spreadable art works (to use Henry Jenkins’ term) that reflect the much-needed role of creative digital arts in representations of aging and later life.
Notes on Twine:
Twine (twinery.org) is a popular, open-source, free and free-to-play platform (Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux) for developing hypertext narratives and games common in digital humanities (DH) initiatives. In any Twine, a player enters a story and is periodically faced with choices that, by clicking on a corresponding hyperlink, alter the course of the story.