Fourteen: Narrative representations of the self: encounters with contemporary visual art

This chapter explores how and why older people construct narrative identities in response to encounters with contemporary visual art. The respondents rejected the negative characteristics they associated with being old and articulated a more positive counter narrative associated with active and involved older people. The narratives they constructed were also inflected by meta-narratives of family, class and the history of north-east England. This work has implications for arts and cultural policy suggesting that more emphasis be placed on how artworks are consumed. It also provides a greater understanding of the value of arts engagement for older people.

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