Henderson, Julia

Julia Henderson, PhD

Dr. Julia Henderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Her program of research focuses on redressing ageism in North American culture. She uses qualitative and mostly arts-based methods to work with older adults on projects that range from collaborative creative engagement with people with lived experience of dementia, to older adult activism, to developing creative accessibility strategies for older adult performers.

Dr. Henderson has a background as both an OT and a professional actor. She completed her PhD in theatre at UBC in 2018, where her dissertation investigated representations of aging and old age in contemporary North American theatre, with a focus on the ways that plays resist ageist stereotypes and narrative tropes through their dramatic texts and/or performances. Continuing her research in cultural age studies, she completed a SSHRC-funded postdoctoral fellowship with Concordia University’s Department of Communication Studies and its Ageing+Communication+Technologies Project. Here she was involved in projects investigating older adult mobile use, games-based approaches to educating the public about older adult mistreatment, and (as part of a joint postdoctoral position with McGill University’s Health Centre Research Institute) self-perceived meanings of ‘active aging’ amongst community dwelling older adults. Dr. Henderson’s primary postdoctoral research involved participating as a core team member with the Raising the Curtain on the Lived Experience of Dementia Project of Gibsons B.C., where she used qualitative methods to describe the team’s processes of collaborative creation. The overall project explored the lived experience of dementia through employing community engaged arts practices and community-based participatory research approaches.

Dr. Henderson teaches the Gerontology module in UBC’s Master of Occupational Therapy Program. She is Vice Chair of the North American Network in Aging Studies, a member of UBC’s Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, and Creative Accessibilities Facilitator with Western Gold Theatre, a professional senior theatre company in Vancouver, BC.

Email: julia.henderson@ubc.ca

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