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Intergenerational dialogue: Connecting youth and older adults in urban spaces through community-based forum theatre

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Understanding generational diversity has important implications for building capacities for developing healthy intergenerational relations and social cohesion, and for challenging oppression. Preparing young people in urban communities to understand and empathize with older adults could have lasting benefits for engaging community members and families to come together to transform culturally divided urban spaces. This qualitative research project drew on arts-based approaches to examine how dialogue between youth and older adults in a community-based theatre education program sought to lessen intergenerational and intercultural divides. While forum theatre is widely used to challenge oppression, this article considers how it could also lead to further exclusion of marginalized voices if both facilitators and participants are inadequately prepared to engage in dialogue. It offers practical suggestions for community educators in diverse urban settings, particularly in the use and application of the arts.
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Keywords: conflict; dialogue; forum theatre; intergenerational; older adults; social justice; urban; youth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Waterloo, Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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