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

Webb, JM 2016 , '“I only look forward to Mondays” : facilitating creative writing groups : ageism, action and empowerment', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Webb, JM
Keywords: Aged care; creativity; action research; ageism; empowerment
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Copyright 2016 the Author

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