Background: Even though the effects of cultural activities on active and positive ageing have been extensively examined, spatial aspects have hardly been considered by research in this field. Objectives: Instead of understanding active ageing as a result of cultural education, this article focuses on practices of (active) ageing in cultural education programs for older adults. We examined the meanings of space and spatial arrangements in which cultural education takes place and how these spatial aspects limit or enable active ageing. Material and methods: The article is based on six qualitative case studies of programs for cultural education for older adults. In programs, such as a yodel seminar or a theater workshop, data were collated by participatory observation and qualitative interviews with the participants and trainers of each program. All data were analyzed using situational analysis. Results: We found that the spaces where the programs took place had a special meaning to the older participants. This was mainly because these spaces where not exclusively designed for target groups of older adults. The experience of the program was not only characterized by these meanings but also by how these spaces were used within the program. Active ageing was realized through the appropriation of new spaces and specific spatial arrangements. Conclusion: This article shows how spatial arrangements and the experience of (active) ageing are intertwined. To foster active ageing, cultural education programs need to provide spaces which can be used accordingly. For environmental gerontology, this paper highlights the necessity to consider the symbolic dimension of spaces and environments in research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Issues, Ethics and Legal Aspects
- Health (social science)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology