Creating Opportunities for the Emergence of Intergenerational Communities of Practice Using Place-based Storytelling and Technologies

  • Diana E Barrera Moreno

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Considering rapid sociotechnical change and increasingly ageing societies we are seeing widening social divides between generations. In this context of demographic and sociotechnical advancements there is a need to explore whether, how and in what ways we might make the best use of technological resources to encourage intergenerational activities, relations, and understandings, which might in turn, generate more promising intergenerational futures and a more reflexive society. This study enquires into the processes of creating intergenerational spaces using place-based storytelling and technology with older and younger adults living in Bristol. Having carried out an exploratory pilot I saw the substantial potential of further investigating this topic. Based on the findings of this pilot I attempted to include participants’ voices as much as possible following an Action Research design. I then adapted the designed experience with intergenerational groups in two different settings: a secondary school and an extra care home. Initially I proposed to co-create with participants a digital version of their stories to sustain the archive of an existing interactive online mapping tool. After the school cycle, I incorporated different tools to digitize the place-based stories. I used the framework of Communities of Practice to study the possibilities of enabling intergenerational encounters, relations and understandings with a focus on intergenerational practice. The data collected through observations, focus groups, interviews and the creation of digital stories has been analysed using thematic analysis. I found that place-based storytelling is one way to design for intergenerational relationships to emerge. In addition to that, a more participative design better encouraged and engaged the older and younger adults. Institutional boundaries can be both an obstacle to overcome or a welcomed safeguarding measure. Finally, intergenerational relationships are not free from tensions, but it is through negotiation that more reciprocal relations between different generations can emerge.
Date of Award23 Mar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorHelen Manchester (Supervisor) & Julia Paulson (Supervisor)


  • Intergenerational relationships
  • storytelling
  • digital storytelling
  • communities of practice
  • Action Research
  • place-based

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