Scott Valentine, MDes 2016 (Art, Design and the Public Domain)
Organization: LGBT Aging Project, Boston, MA, USA
Sponsor: Joint Center for Housing Studies Community Service Fellowship
“Over the past two months, I have been delighted to undertake community participatory research with the help of the Fenway Institute, the largest and most revered LGBT-Q health, policy and wellness research focused organization in the country. Rather than being directed solely by research methods and hard data, I was given the opportunity to create many social relationships within the LGBT elderly community that provided unique insights into what is needed and where research is lacking. This use of mixed methods borrowed from the social sciences further informed my creative thinking process on how to address the LGBT senior community experiences related to housing.
I began to ask questions such as: ‘Where do you prefer to live as you age?’ ‘What is your network of support?’ ‘How does acceptance in your building complex play a role in your psychological well being?’ These questions elicited several thought provoking answers that I have begun to capture on film in order to better visualize these concerns for a wider audience. After several conversations and countless meetings about this work method, the LGBT Elderly Project and I agreed to create several short form documentarian video works, in tandem with several need-based housing assessment research projects. Using all of these methods, we will update the projects and the Fenway Institute’s design collateral reach through video interviews which capture lives and experiences in the LGBT elderly community.”