Dr A.M.C. Swinnen
Aagje Swinnen holds a PhD in literary studies from Ghent University, Belgium (cf. Het slot ontvlucht, 2006). She joined the Center for Gender and Diversity of Maastricht University in 2006 when she was awarded a Veni postdoctoral fellowship from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Originally trained as a literary scholar, Swinnen has broadened the scope of her research to cultural studies of aging, focusing on the workings of age ideologies and the intersection of age and other markers of social difference in a wide variety of cultural texts, such as photography and film. She has published in journals, such asThe Gerontologist, Ageing & Society, Dementia, Journal of Aging Studies, International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, and Feminist Media Studies, and co-edited the volumes Popularizing Dementia (with M. Schweda, 2015), Aging, Performance, and Stardom (with J.A. Stotesbury, 2012) and Seksualiteit van ouderen (2011). Swinnen advocates the integration of social sciences and humanities approaches in the study of aging and later life. This is, for instance, illustrated by her project on poetry and storytelling interventions in person-centred dementia care (“Poëzie- en verhalenkabinet,” subsidized by the Dutch Cultural Participation Fund in collaboration with Van Eyck Academy, 2015). Committed to stimulate dialogue among disciplines, Swinnen is co-founder and current vice-chair of the European Network in Aging Studies (established with support of NWO in the program Internationalization in the Humanities) as well as co-editor of the journal Age, Culture, Humanities, published by the Athenaeum Press of Coastal Carolina University. Since October 2016, Swinnen holds the position of Socrates Endowed Chair International Humanism and the Art of Living at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht. Since 2017, she chairs the interdisciplinary research group Arts, Media, and Culture at FASoS.
Swinnen’s area of expertise is humanistic aging studies. Her main research topics are:
The representation of age (and its intersections with other crucial differences) in literature, photography, and film
The meaning of art interventions (specifically spoken word-based interventions, such as the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and TimeSlips) in dementia care
The way professional artists understand and give meaning to creativity in the later stages of their career