Sitting in the Twilight: A scoping study to capture stories of leisure and aloneness from Wales’ oldest old



George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: Dr Roiyah Saltus (LSE),
External Collaborator:Yvonne June Connikke

The project blog is now live.

There is an increasing need to explore the material world from which a sense of wellbeing occurs. We are concerned with capturing the personal, social and environmental processes in which individual and collective wellbeing are constituted, and in this case, enacted through lifelong, as well as more recent, leisure activity. What can exploring leisure activities reveal about our understanding of notions and performances of agency and resourcefulness, and of wellbeing? What happens when we start from this point of enquiry rather than asking questions such as ‘how do you cope with loneliness?’

Aims: Explore the links between leisure and wellbeing, with a focus on the ‘moments’ between everyday enactments of public leisure and private (at home) aloneness. End point: A greater understanding of how best to capture and explore the role and value of leisure pursuits and past-times in shaping meaningfulness of life, and notions of wellbeing for oldest old residents living in urban centres of SE Wales.

Method: A small scoping study using ‘beyond text’ ethnographic methods (immersive encounters, filmic, photographic and participant observation, creative concepts maps) as well as conversations, field notes, soundscapes, personal musings and blog entries.

Sample: 7 – 10 migrant elders (80 years+) living in SE Wales will be the paradigmatic example of this study. Those regularly attending (or have a long history of attending) domino, bingo hall and luncheon clubs will be targeted.

Data collection: The stories will be captured using creative mental mapping and biographical artefacts. All will be given the opportunity to co-create a digital story or picture story. From the observations made, images taken, and reflections on the coproduced stories will emerge factors influencing elders’ understanding of the role and meaning of leisure activity in their lives, more current manifestations of aloneness, and any links between the two.

• observations (to include film footage, field notes, blogs, photographs)
• digital and picture stories
• journal article (methods or process paper)
• online microsite giving public access to the sights, soundscapes, digital and picture stories, and links to the blog. Key outputs will be mounted on an existing website dedicated to the lives and experiences of migrant older people in Wales
• presentations at the Centre’s events and conferences