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27 June 2013

Transitions in Kitchen Living : the Past, the Present and The Future

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor, JLB
Time: 12:45pm - 2pm
Speaker(s): Sheila Peace - Faculty of Health & Social Care

Across the life course, the kitchen can be a central hub of activity. Long discussed as a gendered space, in ageing populations, the kitchen provides a perfect case study for re-considering press-competence, testing environmental docility and considering proactivity through inclusive design; central issues in environmental gerontology. The paper reports on research involving social gerontologists, ergonomists and designers which studied people’s lives in relation to the kitchen. Following detailed pilot work, two interviews were conducted with 48 older participants (aged 61 to 91 years) in the UK. The first interview, using an oral history approach, recorded people’s experiences of kitchens throughout their lives. The second concerned their current kitchen and how well it met their needs. Other tools gathered housing histories, personal demographic details, routine activities, sketch records and photographs recorded aspects of the kitchen that were particularly liked or disliked. This approach for gathering data from and working with older people will be described, including discussion of Person-Environment fit (practical design issues and behavioural needs). It is concluded that a multi-disciplinary approach has been productive in producing a greater user understanding that will help promote more inclusive design. Further development has enabled the team to consult older people on the development of new technology. TiKL forms a useful case study for producing guidelines for the design of more inclusive kitchens that will be useful to people as they get older and their abilities change. BIO: Sheila Peace is Professor of Social Gerontology in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at The Open University. She is an Academician of the Social Sciences and is currently President Elect of the British Society of Gerontology. A social geographer by first discipline, Sheila has particular expertise in the field of environment and ageing developed since her doctoral work in the 1970s. Her gerontological research embraces both the macro and micro environment and has concerned quality of life, and the design and regulation of care settings both mainstream and supportive; everyday living environments; intergenerational social interaction in public places; and the development of age-friendly communities. She is a co-author of ‘Environment and Identity in Later Life’ (2006) OUP/McGraw-Hill Education. Throughout her research career she has been involved in the development of participative research seeking innovative ways to enable older people to communicate their ideas. Currently, she is developing a new book ‘The Environments of Ageing: Space, Place and Materiality’ for Policy Press.


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Contact: mailto:h.c.sharp@open.ac.uk