Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ages and Stages in Boston!

Boston Public Library

Duck Tour

Boston Common
By Michelle Rickett 
I attended the annual Gerontology Society of America conference in Boston this November and, along with Mim Bernard, presented a paper about the Ages and Stages project.

The sheer size of the conference (over 3,500 people) and the diversity of subject matter initially seemed daunting, but I soon found that it was a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and a well organised programme.The conference was in a great location (the Hynes Convention Centre) in central Boston. I had a 10 minute walk through two malls and passed various coffee shops to reach the conference venue; I (mostly) showed restraint in not shopping on the way there or back!

I really enjoyed being at a conference with so many papers and symposia focused on the social aspects of ageing. One highlight was the ‘Changing Age’ symposium, which explored how education might be used to change societal views on ageing, and included thought provoking papers by Harry Moody on the ‘risk society’ and Jennie Keith on cross-cultural views on changing age. I also enjoyed the sessions on narrative gerontology (which focused on the stories people tell about their ageing) and was fascinated to hear blues singer, Toni Lynn Washington, talk about her experiences in the music industry over almost 60 years. I was also delighted to bring home a signed copy of one of Toni's CDs with me!
Mim and I presented as part of a symposium about the arts and ageing, alongside other NDA funded projects focused on music, art and creativity. The atmosphere in our session was very warm and supportive, and it was great to share our research with other academics with similar interests.
We also managed to take some time to see Boston, which looked particularly beautiful in the cold, bright November sun. We took the 'duck tour', explored the Back Bay area, and visited Boston's stunning public library.

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