Tia DeNora Wolfgang Schmid Fraser Simpson Gary Ansdell

'Late' Musical Learning. What is it, Why, and for Whom?

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This article considers learning, development, and value in the arts (specifically music) in late and end of life. After critical consideration of the discourses associated with lifelong learning, we present the notion of ‘late’ learning and ‘late’ creativity through three case studies set in contexts of dementia care and life-limiting illness. We suggest that ‘late’ creative learning is akin to some ‘late’ stylistic practices in ‘high’ art: in both, a rich range of materials are mobilised and in both unconventional and often unique materials are featured. The article concludes that ‘lateness’, properly supported, is democratic. It values ‘different’ creative activities in ways that can widen conceptions and perceptions of what counts as creativity. Through that widening, a notion of ‘late’ creativity can rebalance social dynamics in scenes of care between those ‘giving’ and ‘needing’ care.


  • Late life
  • Music
  • Creativity
  • Learning


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