Trent graduate student Sandra Robinson has never presented research at an international conference before but, by the end of this year, she will have done so twice.
The first conference for Robinson, a Masters student in English (Public Texts), is ‘Taking Back Aging:
Power, Critique, Imagination,” which will be held at the end of May at Trent University in conjunction with the North American Network of Aging Studies and the European Networks of Aging Studies.
The 27-year-old will present her research exploring how the idea of ‘healthy aging’ discriminates against those with disabilities or chronic health conditions during the conference, hosted by the Trent Centre for Aging and Society (TCAS).
“I am a student member of TCAS, which has been a wonderful experience,” she says. “TCAS is a very supportive, creative and interdisciplinary space. It’s a privilege to be a part of a place where so many committed and thoughtful thinkers on aging can come together and learn from each other.”
In September, Ms. Robinson will travel to England to present additional research at the conference ‘Ageing, Illness, Care in Literary and Cultural Narratives’ at the University of Huddersfield.
She will present a paper on the novel Soucouyant: A Novel of Forgetting (2007), about a Trinidadian immigrant to Scarborough who has acquired early-onset dementia.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet other age-studies scholars from around the world,” she says.
Now that Ms. Robinson is finished the first year of her MA, she’s working on her thesis about the portrayal of older women, who are disabled, in contemporary Canadian literature.
“Older women, and particularly those with a disability are so often not written about or written about pejoratively,” she says. “However, in the novels I’m studying there are some wonderful examples of older disabled women finding a sense of meaning and purpose in their later lives… I’m passionate about literature’s ability to represent and give voice to marginalized people and ultimately foster positive social change.”
Ms. Robinson would like to continue her research when eventually pursuing a PhD and then work in government as a policy writer helping to shape policy for marginalized populations.