An interview with Nicole Haring by Colleen Mc Cool
During three weeks in October 2022, Nicole Haring, the student representative on the Aging in Data board, visited ACT Lab’s team, to work on a few ideas for Aging in Data at the University of Graz in Austria. She received a special grant from the Association of Canada Studies to travel to Canada and conduct some research, and she chose to come to visit ACT Lab in Montréal. Haring came to know ACT because of her supervisor, Roberta Maierhofer, and her colleague Barbara Ratzenböck, who have both been part of ACT, and now Aging in Data.
Haring studied at Graz University in English and American studies, more specifically literary studies, and did a master’s in teaching, with a focus on gender studies and feminist theory. More recently, she has been working on the intersectionality between race, class, gender, and age in literary studies. Her Ph.D. thesis also includes research that has been done by the ACT project, more specifically on intergenerational storytelling. She utilizes this methodology with educators and is more targeted in investigating gender and generations. Hence, she has developed intergenerational storytelling workshops with educators of different ages using the intergenerational feminist mic methodology developed with the ACT project (May Chazan, Maddy Macnad, 2018-2019). She explored “how in educational systems and institutions we reproduce social norms like gender norms.”
On October 25th, Haring gave a talk held in the offices of ACT Lab and on Zoom where she presented the workshop, funded by Aging in Data, she organized for her Ph.D. thesis. A total of 15 participants attended the workshop to discuss her methodology and intergenerational digital storytelling.
Haring is also involved in organizing the Graz International Summer School, which happens every July for two weeks in Austria. She mentioned that “the summer school is an opportunity for undergrad and grad students, Ph.D. candidates to come there and engage for two weeks with students from all over the world.” Students from all disciplines, at any stage in their studies, are encouraged to apply to engage in disciplinary discussions, and elaboration and to build networks in different fields. The theme of the summer 2023’s program is Conflict, Challenges and Change, and one of the seven modules available will address aging in data.
Further, as the student representative of Aging and Data, Haring shared that she is “really excited to be part of that board because there are fantastic and really outstanding aging scholars on it, such as Kim Sawchuk, of course, who is the coordinator, but also other people like Sally Chivers and Steven Katz, and so on.” She finds her experience interesting from the perspective that she is a Ph.D. candidate. She can see the process of funding proposals or funding developments and likes to see what people are doing from an international point of view. A function that she likes about her role is the chance to connect with students.
Finally, Nicole explained that she loved her trip to Montréal. She specifically enjoyed the weather and the fall colours of the leaves. She said that “I’m having a really great time. I think the ACT lab in general is super interesting. I’ve always followed what they’ve done research-wise, but now really being here and seeing the team and everybody come together is a really cool experience, so yeah, thank you for having me.” All the members of ACT Lab enjoyed getting to know Nicole and welcoming her into our offices. Her presence for the three weeks she was here was joyful and she will definitely be missed!