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Open Access Loneliness and the letter: Co-developing cross-generational letter writing with higher education students and older people

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Writing Back is an intergenerational letter-writing project that has been matching University of Leeds students as pen pals with older Yorkshire residents since 2014. Working in collaboration with a principal investigator based in the university's School of English, students and older participants have been facilitating conversation about loneliness, home and belonging via their exchange of cross-generational correspondence and their engagement with archival images of the county. This article reflects upon the successes and limitations of using co-productive letter writing and visual methodologies in qualitative loneliness research. In carrying out a narrative analysis of Writing Back's correspondence, it demonstrates how letter writing can be used as an effective methodological tool to generate new understanding of loneliness in multiple age demographics.

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Keywords: INTERGENERATION; LETTER WRITING; LONELINESS; METHODOLOGIES; QUALITATIVE; VISUAL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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