Marlene Chan is currently exploring ageing as a creative practice, experimenting with technology through digital literacy and educating herself in the creative use of various technologies and social media. She is an independent Scholar of Concordia University. Rather than limit older adults as objects, her research and activities are motivated, inspired, and guided by lifelong learners’ narratives and experiences and change agents across the lifespan. This has sparked an interest in the Age-Friendly University Global Network based at Dublin City University (DCU) in Ireland as a catalyst for higher education change.
Christine O’Kelly is the Coordinator of the Age-Friendly University Global Network led by Dublin City University. Under her leadership, the network has expanded from 3 to 74 members globally. Christine has an extensive background in working with a range of agencies and networks engaged in enhancing older adults’ well-being. She was the former CEO of Ireland’s Older Women’s Network, a global network focusing on gender and ageing. She works closely with a multidisciplinary team in DCU and is involved in Ireland’s National Positive Ageing Strategy Group and Age-Friendly Ireland. Christine is a member of the AGE Platform and the Covenant on Demographic Change in Europe and is a passionate advocate for older people.
Christine was educated at the National College of Ireland, Trinity College and DCU and is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education focusing on Educational Leadership.
Ageing: It’s all about U
Marlene Chan, Concordia University, Canada
Christine O’Kelly, Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland
This paper will discuss adapting The Theory U methodology of awareness-based system change to the development and expansion of the Age-Friendly Universities (AFU) Global Network as a catalyst for change.
As a work-in-progress, this participatory research project explores creative, experimental and original transformative concepts and leadership. It differs from traditional objective scientific research methods that commonly include surveys, focus groups, the evaluation and the gathering of statistics and other data. Rather than limit older adults as objects, the research is motivated, inspired, and guided by lifelong learners’ narratives and experiences and change agents across the lifespan. It is both interdisciplinary, intergenerational and intersectional. It uses a transformational approach to more adequately address and interrogate the dominant bio-medical model not often critically considered in studies on ageing. It is designed to affect real-world change in higher education initiated by, for and in conjunction with the marginalized independent lifelong learner. The research reveals and examines the social, cultural, economic and structural forces perpetuating such barriers as ageism that maintain the status quo in higher education delivery.
This is a critical case study analysis directly implicating the participants engaged with the iterative and evolving MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology) Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) communicating the key concepts, methods and tools of The Theory U: Leading from the Emerging Future.
Concordia University’s u.lab Hub, Montreal, Canada provided the physical meeting space, supporting and empowering individual community members and students of all ages to develop and expand the AFU Global Network prototype to test the concept and process relating to u.lab and u.lab-S. The u.lab process continually engenders multiple outcomes based on stakeholder interviews, coaching circles, learning journeys, 3-D planning, Social Presencing Theatre (4D planning), journaling, generative listening and scribing, guided visualization and mindful meditation.