The shift toward embracing creativity in qualitative research has opened up new possibilities for researchers who seek to represent themselves and their findings in ways that capture the complexities of human life. This case study on gay aging combined life history interviewing with arts-based techniques to explore how one individual made sense of his sexual orientation at a time when gay men were criminalized and pathologized. Using principles from poetic inquiry, interview data were transformed into a short poem that captures the emotional and affective undertones of gay aging. The findings reveal the utility of poetics as both a process and product that generates deeper understanding about complex social phenomena. The value of arts-based research as relational, embodied, and affective praxis are discussed. This research highlights the need for ongoing training of emerging qualitative researchers in arts-based techniques.


Arts-Based Methods, Poetic Inquiry, Gay Men, Aging

Author Bio(s)

Austin Oswald is a PhD student in Social Welfare at the City University of New York and Doctoral Fellow at Silberman Aging, one of five Hartford Centers of Excellence in Diverse Aging. He earned his BSc in Therapeutic Recreation at Dalhousie University, MA in Applied Health Sciences at Brock University, and Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies at the University of Georgia. His work focuses on promoting the health and wellbeing of underrepresented older adults through community-engaged education, research, and advocacy. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: aoswald@gradcenter.cuny.edu.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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