It opens a whole new world: older people’s perceptions of the role of the creative arts as leisure in their lives

Herron, Alison (2007) It opens a whole new world: older people’s perceptions of the role of the creative arts as leisure in their lives. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis reports on an original qualitative study of older people’s perceptions about how they benefited from participating in a creative arts program. The study brought together the research fields of leisure, arts and ageing well to explore the meaning that 10 older people gave to their creative leisure experiences. Narrative data from in-depth interviews were analysed using a qualitative approach. The major finding of this study was that creative activities, particularly group arts activities, can be a powerful mode for delivering leisure benefits to enhance ageing well. Many participants attributed a sense of a new lease of life to the stimulating opportunities they now had for self-expression. This new lease of life resulted from the benefits of heightened enjoyment along with a strengthened sense of life purpose and meaning. Sharing a common interest was identified as vital to enjoyable social interactions and a sense of belonging. The findings of this study indicate that there is certainly scope for the arts, leisure and aged care fields to provide a more stimulating and developmental range of creative programs to benefit older people. Furthermore, this study identified specific facilitating strategies that leisure providers can incorporate into program design to enable older people to reap the potential benefits that creative leisure can bring to their lives.

Additional Information

Master of Arts

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Keywords creative arts, leisure, recreation, older people
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