Mobilizing participatory research for co-creative, intergenerational knowledge-sharing

This workshop is to LEARN and SHARE

When: Friday 26th of August from 10h45 to 12h30



The objective of the workshop is to build awareness about, and a hands-on experience with, participatory research and co-creation in developing intergenerational connections, and rethinking new media from the perspective of different community affiliations (social, cultural, economic, historical), thereby confronting and addressing digital ageism as well as expanding our understandings of mobility and iterative storytelling.


Co-creation; Methodologies; Creative Aging


This 90-minute workshop will share two organizations’ experiences in co-creating media-based projects that partner with community and institutional stakeholders to create greater visibility for strategic causes and ongoing opportunities for greater knowledge exchange and skill sharing. Ageing, Communication, Technologies (ACT), and Narratives in Space + Time Society are pursuing programs of research that involve individuals and communities in the development of participatory action research projects that have both scholarly and creative outcomes.

ACT is a research project that addresses the transformation of the experiences of ageing with the proliferation of new forms of mediated communications in networked societies. ACT members, Dr. Kim Sawchuk (Director), Constance Lafontaine (Associate Director), and Dr. David Madden (Postdoctoral Fellow) will outline how they are creating intergenerational connections, rethinking new media from the perspective of old age and confronting digital ageism.

As part of our “Agency in Ageing: Collaborative Creativity and the Digital Arts in Later Life” research axis, ACT’s approach takes seriously people’s everyday interactions with technologies, and uses these experiences to explore what it means to be a critical citizen in the information age in a process of collaborative knowledge creation. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Luka (Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, York University) and Professors Barbara Lounder (NSCAD University) and Robert Bean (NSCAD University) from Narratives in Space + Time Society will demonstrate how the group and its audiences of all ages and mobilities are using simple mapping technologies and social media softwares to help people learn more about how we document, reflect on, and track our own lives and communal commemorative moments. They will also share examples of specific storytelling and community collaboration events that have involved more than 60 artists and 20 community organizations in public art walks with more than 100 people. Time will be reserved to work together with workshop participants on methods that can build intergenerational futures in the digital context.

Workshop organisers: Constance Lafontaine, ACT project

Background information:

Narratives in Space+Time Society ( is an interdisciplinary creative research group working on projects involving storytelling, mobile media and walking. The members of NiS+TS are Robert Bean (, Renée Gruszecki, Brian Lilley, Barbara Lounder ( and Mary Elizabeth Luka ( Founded in 2012 and based in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, NiS+TS focuses on developing and working with narrowcast audiences and collaborating artists to experience, reflect on and co-create content responding to specific sites of historic and cultural engagement ( Their first interactive public event was an exploration of Montreal’s disused Hippodrome space, a significant prospect for urban redevelopment. The group’s projects are usually sited in spaces that are often overlooked, disused or vacant. Participants use mobile media such as GPS, smartphones and mobility tracking devices, in combination with other experiential modes (such as walking, talking, performance and making objects) in interactive explorations of locations and subjects. Since 2013, NiS+TS has researched and launched a series of public art walks and collaborative productions involving more than 60 other artists, and walking groups of up to 100 people, concerning the cultural, social and historical legacies of the Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917. This event reverberates as a definitive moment around which powerful themes of destruction and reconstruction, urbanism and community continue to circulate. From 2014 through to 2017, as the centenary of the Explosion approaches, as well as the sesquicentennial of Canada, NiS+TS is conducting a series of public walking events designed to explore the ways in which the disaster, the ensuing relief efforts and the reconstruction continue to shape the city and the nation. For December 6, 2017, itself, they will be collaborating with the City of Halifax as well as 25 additional organizations and partners, 60+ artists, and upwards of 2000 participants.

Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) is a multi-methodological research project that brings together researchers and institutional and community partners to address the transformation of the experiences of ageing with the proliferation of new forms of mediated communications in networked societies. ACT is comprised of researchers, students, and community and institutional partners from around the world. Together, we are investigating how ‘digital ageism’ – the individual and systemic biases that create forms of inclusion and exclusion that are age-related – operates in subtle ways at this time. Through our collective and collaborative research, we provide an analysis that comes from our engagement with individuals and communities of elders and suggest strategies for change