Concordia’s engAGE Centre launches the Creative Living Lab at a local storefront
engAGE, Concordia’s Centre for Research on Aging, is launching its Creative Living Lab at the Cavendish Mall in the Montreal-area municipality Côte-Saint-Luc this month. The aim is to combat social isolation among older adults and build inclusive communities across generations and cultures.
The project is funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) - Santé, Plateforme de financements de la recherche intersectorielle sur le vieillissement.
Janis Timm-Bottos, associate professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, created the project to connect Concordia students and researchers with Montreal’s community of older adults.
The living lab, located in a Cavendish Mall storefront, is a community space that will facilitate the co-creation, design, production and dissemination of university-community research. All activities are free and everyone is welcome to participate.
Timm-Bottos says situating the lab in a familiar space like a mall is a way to create a comfortable atmosphere where older adults, especially those who may be experiencing isolation, feel supported and encouraged to interact with university researchers.
“We want to know what older adults think and what they already do to promote health and wellness with their friends, families and communities,” she explains. “With this information, we can then work together to develop creative ways to share this with universities across Quebec and the public at large.”
Health and wellness benefits for all
Through music, visual arts, literature and more, older people will work in collaborative partnership with researchers to explore science and express their needs and experiences.
For the month of January, the Creative Living Lab is hosting the research residency “Check Your Balance, Befriend Gravity and Dance!”
Concordia’s engAGE researcher Karen Li and graduate student Berkeley Peterson will explain how the senses, particularly hearing, contribute to safe winter walking. Brazilian dancer Déborah Maia de Lima will be on hand to teach participants a few dance moves.
The public is welcome to test their balance in the lab from Tuesday to Friday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The living lab will also feature a Media Spa, led by Najmeh Khalili Mahani, a PERFORM Centre scientist and member of Milieux’s Technoculture, Arts and Games (TAG) cluster.
The Media Spa is a project of the Media Health Lab.
Mahani will examine how technology can be used to build communities and communication networks with screen-based health and social care.
“By promoting a culture of public science through the creative arts and technology, our goal is to exchange knowledge between older adults and university researchers across Quebec for the health and wellness benefits of all,” says Timm-Bottos.
“Programming will be hosted by Concordia co-investigators based on the interests and needs of the older adults,” she says.
Upcoming grand opening
The project features several co-investigators from across Concordia faculties: Najmeh Khalili Mahani, Karen Li, Laurel Young, Meghan Joy, Linda Dyer and Shannon Hebblethwaite. Tracie Swim, program coordinator for the Extra Miles Senior Visiting Program, is also a practitioner co-investigator.
Collaborators include the Loyola College of Sustainability and Diversity and the Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology.
The grand opening of the Creative Living Lab is January 16 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the C-14 storefront space of the Cavendish Mall (5800 Cavendish Blvd.).
Opening hours for the lab are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 12 to 8 p.m.
Learn more about engAGE, Concordia’s Centre for Research on Aging.