Arts | Aging | Wellness | Community


Andrea Charise combines more than twenty years’ experience as an arts-based health researcher, primarily in geriatrics (the care of older people), with innovative, award-winning scholarship in literary studies and humanities.

In her research leadership, Andrea Charise leverages her training at the intersection of arts, health, and community engagement to architect large, collaborative, team-based initiatives motivated by intentionally diverse teams and knowledge dissemination methods.

Her recent work explores how arts engagement constitutes a fundamental pillar of social wellness.

She is Director and Principal Investigator of “FLOURISH: Community-Engaged Arts as a Method for Social Wellness”, a community-engaged interdisciplinary research collective dedicated to advancing creative arts engagement across the lifecourse. Established in 2020, FLOURISH is a multi-year, externally-funded collaborative research initiative supported by major grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and New Frontiers in Research Fund.

Andrea Charise seeks to radically reframe “social determinants of health” through a liberal arts lens, incorporating community-strengthening practices that underscore the values—and value—of arts and humanities-based practices: including equity, access, belonging, intergenerativity, and justice.

The human body functions as a kind of litmus test for assessing divergent disciplinary values and epistemologies.

Current community-based research projects she is leading include: “A Mixed-Methods Research Exploration of Sustainable Community Arts-Wellness Programming for Scarborough’s 2SLGBTQ+ Youth” (with Scarborough Arts) and “Mobilizing Creative Arts Access Equity for Post-Pandemic Flourishing in Canada (A Participatory Action Research Approach)” (with Dirk J. Rodricks).

She also curates The Resemblage Project, a digital humanities multimedia initiative dedicated to inviting, assembling, and imaginatively re-presenting stories of aging. The Resemblage Project received the 2020 Digital Humanities Award for “Best Public Engagement,” and received the AVA 2021 Award (High Commendation) for Best Visual Ethnographic Material Addressing Ageing and the Life Course (jointly awarded by the Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course (AAGE) and the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)). 

Her current writing projects include an edited collection on how community arts practices constitute a tactic for collective flourishing adjacent to, yet distinct from, more conventional markers of wellbeing and health. She is currently completing two monographs: one that focuses on how the language of health, illness, and infirmity has, since the nineteenth century, often structured facets of debates concerning the “value” of the humanities—literary studies especially. Her second book project, Resonant Life: Aging at the End of a World, combines personal essay, creative writing, and critical scholarship as a method for exploring aging’s new material cultures from within the political, demographic, aesthetic, and social churn of the Anthropocene.