This collection begins with two premises: that our understanding of the nature and forms of creativity in later life remains limited and that dialogue between specialists in gerontology, the arts and humanities can produce the crucial new insights that are so obviously needed. Representing the outcome of ongoing dialogue across the disciplinary divide, the contributions of this volume reflect anew on what we share and how we differ; creating new narratives so as to build an understanding of late-life creativity that goes far beyond the narrow confines of the pervasively received idea of ‘late style’.

Creativity in Later Life encompasses a range of personal reflections and discussions of the boundaries of creativity, including:

  • Canonical artistic achievements to community art projects
  • Narratives of carers for those living with dementia
  • Analyses of creative theory

Through these insightful chapters, the authors consequently offer an understanding of creativity in later life as varied, socialised and - above all - located in the cultural and economic circumstances of the here and now.


This title will appeal to academics, practitioners and students in the various gerontological, arts and humanities fields; and to anyone with an interest in the nature of creativity in later life and the forms it takes.

chapter |16 pages


Beyond late style
ByDavid Amigoni, Gordon McMullan

part I|2 pages

The challenges of late-life creativity

chapter 1|5 pages

Imagining otherwise

The disciplinary identity of gerontology
ByRuth Ray Karpen

chapter 2|7 pages

The singing voice in late life

ByJane Manning

chapter 3|16 pages

Creative ageing

The social policy challenge
BySusan Hogan, Emily Bradfield

part II|2 pages

Rethinking late style

chapter 4|12 pages

Turner’s last works and his critics

BySam Smiles

chapter 5|16 pages

Constructing a late style for David Bowie

Old age, late-life creativity, popular culture
ByGordon McMullan

chapter 6|22 pages

An ‘old man in the dimming world’

Theodor Adorno, Derek Walcott and a defence of the idea of late style
ByRobert Spencer

part III|2 pages

The varieties of late-life creativity

chapter 7|13 pages

Late-life creativity

Assessing the value of theatre in later life
ByMiriam Bernard, Michelle Rickett

chapter 9|14 pages

‘It’s play, really, isn’t it?’

Dress, creativity, old age
ByHannah Zeilig, Anna-Mari Almila

chapter 10|16 pages

Visual diaries, creativity and everyday life

ByWendy Martin, Katy Pilcher

chapter 11|4 pages

Self, civic engagement and late-life creativity

ByAngela Glendenning

part IV|2 pages

Narrating dementia

chapter 12|15 pages

A critical narrative on late-life creativity and dementia

Integrating citizenship, embodiment and relationality
ByPia Kontos, Alisa Grigorovich

chapter 13|16 pages

‘The artistry of it all’

Narrating The Tempest, dementia and the mapping of identity in a Manchester extra-care housing scheme
ByLiz Postlethwaite

chapter 15|13 pages

Narratives as talking therapy

Research with Sikh carers of a family member with dementia in Wolverhampton
ByKaran Jutlla

part V|2 pages

Old age, creativity and the late city

chapter 16|19 pages

‘Work, work, work and full steam ahead’

Ian McKay and the conserving radicalism of the Gorton Visual Arts Group, public artists in later life
ByJohn Miles

chapter 17|16 pages

The late Peter Rice

Late-style stories of ageing and the city in A Bright Past for Stoke-on-Trent
ByDavid Amigoni

chapter |4 pages


ByDavid Amigoni, Gordon McMullan