Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Lucinda Havenhand

Second Advisor

Donald Carr


What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? According to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, a good life isn’t about wealth or fame. Instead, effective social interactions keep us, especially older adults, happier and healthier. Narrative projects like the oral history and collective memory are widely employed to invite older adults to share their memories about historical significant events. Although there were modest benefits in reducing participants’ social isolation (Bornat 16), the approaches of these projects are limited to narrative analysis, rather than narrative itself. The tension between older adults’ knowledge of historical events and their untold life stories, remained largely unexplored. Based on the systematic literature review and three research probes, this study explores the difference between task-oriented talking and meaningful communication; and reveals older adults’ real needs in the process of aging: sharing life stories with loved ones. In considering the appropriate role for narrative in reshaping older adults’ self- image and rebuilding their family relationship, the purpose of this paper is to develop a new narrative model, which includes both verbal and visual narrative, to provide a better interactive experience to older participants. As the final design, the project “through my eyes”, which includes three chapters as recollection, revelation, and reflection, will be presented, and elaborated by an illustrative case study.


Open Access



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