The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes we hope to bring about through those lives.-Audre Lorde
We are students, scholars, artists, activists, and community members from across the city—and across the life course—who are imaginatively exploring what it means to grow older in Scarborough. The Resemblage Project is a home for these explorations: a multimedia “text” that uses digital storytelling to animate the intergenerational fabric of our lives. While each of our stories is unique, bringing them together in assemblage creates openings for thinking through and across difference in order to fashion new meanings of aging.
Aging is one of the few experiences that affects us universally: we are all bodies in time, growing older. Yet, as it is currently studied and taught, age studies—the critical study of age, aging, and older age—primarily focuses on the white, Western, female experience, and has done little to reshape itself in response (Bakers; Chivers; Hamraie). That’s where The Resemblage Project comes in. By representing and theorizing around the intersections of age, race, gender, class, sexuality, geography, citizenship, faith, ability, and more, we hope to shape age studies so that it more closely resembles the lived experiences of its learners, within Scarborough and beyond.
The Resemblage Project employs tools from the digital humanities—namely digital storytelling—to craft creative and critical representations of age/ing. A digital story is a first-person narrative that weaves together visual and auditory media—for instance, stock images, home video, illustrations, music, sound effects, and voiceover—in the form of a short video that can be shared widely. Digital storytelling is an accessible mode of artistic expression and theory-making based on the principle that we are all the experts of our own lives. Through our stories, we are challenging universalizing narratives of aging as decline by attending to the specificities of our intergenerational relationships, while also illuminating the ways in which our experiences overlap.
For us, The Resemblage Project is as much about the process of storytelling as it is about the final product. Each story is the result of a coming together: of grandchildren and grandparents, educators and students, the arts and sciences, activism and academia. Out of this convergence comes new ways of seeing and being in the world, and new possibilities for collective action. As we continue to work in and across communities, The Resemblage Project signals an ongoing commitment to changing the quality of light by which we view aging, and each other.