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Older Women and Craft: Extending Educational Horizons in Considering Wellbeing

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While the social work literature is broader and more holistic than many disciplines, we undoubtedly still limit the knowledge we draw upon in ways that stifle our creativity in conceptualising and attempting to facilitate wellbeing, which flows on to limit our teaching. In particular, the significance to wellbeing of place and social space, the value of informal networks to generate support and opportunities for reciprocity, and the inherent therapeutic value of creative activity appears to be neglected. In this paper we draw upon a small Australian research study around older women and craftmaking to explore how learning from diverse disciplines, such as critical gerontology and textile making, can illuminate our understanding of wellbeing. We relate this discussion to examining notions of ageing that go beyond a focus on illness and deterioration, to enhance positive and diverse concepts of health in the context of everyday life. We then discuss the implications for social work education, with particular emphasis on ageing, and argue that by engaging with a diverse range of disciplines, we are able to think about, teach and advocate for wellbeing in more expansive and useful ways.
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Keywords: Ageing; Arts and Craft; Creativity; Interdependence; Interdisciplinary

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, New Zealand 2: University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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