Intergenerational learning in a changing world. Knitting generations together


  • Cecilia Bjursell School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University
  • Ann-Kristin Boström School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University
  • Anders Dybelius School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University



knitting, intergenerational learning, lifelong learning, culture, gender, case study


In intergenerational projects, learning a craft is an activity that may be of interest to people of different ages. This paper focuses on knitting as a craft. In most Western societies, knitting is often considered a craft for women, but on Taquile Island, Peru, it is the men who knit. This paper discusses knitting from an intergenerational perspective whilst focusing on gender and culture. To this aim, we introduce an intrinsic case study to examine the role of gender and culture in intergenerational learning. The data used in this study was collected during a visit to Taquile Island. In summary, the study’s findings reveal that (i) on Taquile, members of the community invest in maintaining cultural traditions in opposition to being swept along by (con)temporary social changes; (ii) knitting on Taquile is approached as a practical technique in contrast to Western culture where knitting is connected to the concept of ‘well-being’; and (iii) whilst gender structures may set frames for performance, the Taquile case demonstrates that what is typically considered ‘male’ or ‘female’ may vary.


Andrew, C. (2002). Intergenerational programming [knitting generations together] [prime mentors of canada] [grandfriends]. Education Today, 14 Retrieved from

BBC (2021). How pandemic burnout sparked a knitting revival. March 14, 2023.

Boström, A. (2022). Varför stickar du? (Why do you knit?) HB Livslångt Lärande Stockholm.

Bratich, J. Z., & Brush, H. M. (2011). Fabricating activism: Craft-work, popular culture, gender. Utopian Studies, 22(2), 233–260.

Corkhill, B., Hemmings, J., Maddock, A., & Riley, J. (2014). Knitting and well-being. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 12(1), 34–57.

Creswell, J. W. & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cunsolo Willox A., Harper S.L., Edge V.L. (2013). Storytelling in a digital age: Digital storytelling as an emerging narrative method for preserving and promoting indigenous oral wisdom. Qualitative Research, 13 (2), 127 - 147.

Donati, P. (2015). Intergenerational solidarity: Old and new scenarios, challenges and prospects. In P. S. Dasgupta, V. Ramanathan, & M. Sánchez Sorondo (Eds.), Sustainable humanity, sustainable nature, our responsibility (pp. 569–613). Proceedings of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences/Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences Tenth Plenary Session, held in Vatican City, 2–6 May. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Donmoyer, R. (2009). Generalizability and the Single-Case Study. In (Eds.) Gomm, R., Hammersley, M. & Foster, P. (Eds.) Case Study Method. (pp. 45-68).SAGE Publications Ltd.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. A The Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532–550.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1991). Better stories and better constructs: The case for rigor and comparative logic. The Academy of Management Review, 16 (3): 620–627.

Eisenhardt, K.M. & Graebner, M.E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50 (1): 25-32.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative inquiry, 12(2), 219-245.

Geda, YE., Topazian, H. M., ..., & Petersen, R.C. (2011). Engaging in cognitive activities, aging, and mild cognitive impairment: a population-based study. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 23(2): 149-54. doi: 10.1176/jnp.23.2.jnp149

Jarvis, P. (2007). Toward a philosophy of human learning: An existentialist perspective. In P. Jarvis & S. Parker (Eds), Human learning. A holistic approach (pp. 1–15). Routledge.

Johansson, P. G. (2001). Gods, kvinnor och stickning: tidig industriell verksamhet i Höks härad i södra Halland ca 1750-1870. Diss. Lund Univ., 2001

Kaplan, M. S., & Sánchez, M. (2014). Intergenerational programmes and policies in ageing societies. In S. Harper & K. Hamblin (Eds.), International handbook on ageing and public policy (pp. 367–383). Elgar.

Linghede, E., Larsson, H. & Redelius, K. (2016). (Re)presenting Equestrian “His” tories: Storytelling as a method of inquiry. Sport, Education and Society, 21, 1, 82-95.

Lundqvist, P. (2008). Marknad på väg: den västgötska gårdfarihandeln 1790–1864. Diss. Göteborgs Univ., 2008

Lüscher, K., Hoff, A., ... & Wang, X. (2017). Generations, intergenerational relationships, generational policy: A multilingual compendium, Edition 2017. University of Konstanz. Retrieved 27 August 2020 from

Pentney B. A. (2008). Feminism, activism, and knitting: Are the arts a viable mode for feminist political action. Thirdspace: A J. Feminist Theor. Cult. 8 (1), 23–42.

Riley, Corkhill, B., & Morris, C. (2013). The benefits of knitting for personal and social well-being in adulthood: Findings from an international survey. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(2), 50–57.

Rosner, D. K., & Ryokai, K. (2008). Spyn: augmenting knitting to support storytelling and reflection. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, 340–349.

Sánchez, M., & Díaz, P. (2021). Intergenerational relationships. In D. Gu & M. E. Dupre (Eds.), Encyclopedia of gerontology and population aging. Springer.

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Sage.

Stake, R. E. (1978). The case study method in social inquiry. Educational Researcher, 7(2), 5–8.




How to Cite

Bjursell, C., Boström, A.-K., & Dybelius, A. (2023). Intergenerational learning in a changing world. Knitting generations together. Ricerche Di Pedagogia E Didattica. Journal of Theories and Research in Education, 18(2), 51–65.