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The Hands of Time: Multiple Perspectives on Aging

The Hands of time: Multiple Perspectives on Aging

Date: 11-12 June, 2015

Conference description

As we grow older, our organism changes in ways that will reduce our ability to respond to stress, and hereby increasing the homeostatic imbalance and the risk of many medical diseases. These biological changes are accompanied by a range of psychological and social changes such as cognitive and physical decline, dependency on social care and medical treatment. Are these changes unavoidable? Is it possible through social, societal, psychological or medical means to hold back signs of aging? And is it even desirable? What is in fact “age” from a biological point of view, and do absolute limits to the potential “age” of living organisms exist?

Our populations are aging, i.e. a proportional increase in the number of older people is observed in most countries. Significant demographic changes are unfolding. Longevity is steadily increasing, and the number of older people will increase not only in absolute terms, but also relative to the working age population. Demographers expect that life expectancy will increase by close to five years between today and 2050. Increasing longevity is associated with so-called healthy aging, i.e. more healthy years added to life (compression of morbidity). This underlines the large welfare gains associated with these changes. But problems remain: the increase in longevity is not equally distributed, and the social gradient remains strong, which in turn raises several issues.

An increasing aging population, with a dramatic growth in many age-related disorders, such as dementia, is considered an economic and societal challenge in large parts of the world. But “aging” may also be addressed in a broader context. It is well known that the ways in which we view and interpret signs of aging as well as the age segmentation of the human life span (e.g. when are we considered old?) have changed through history and are subject to major cultural differences. But do cultures and societies themselves have an “age”? What about cultural artefacts, from buildings to works of art: which are the roles of “age” here? Not to mention the impact of the age of concepts, including the concept of “age”? These are some of the questions we wish to address during the conference at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies.

Keynote speakers


Date and venue

11 June: 09:00 – 17:00 (Conference dinner at 19:00 - )
12 June: 09:00 – 16:30

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Aarhus University, Buildings 1630-1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. See location on a map.


See the programme and the abstracts here.


Registration is online and open until 7 June 2015.

  • Conference fee of DKK 700,- (app. €95): incl. 25% of VAT, lunches, beverages, conference dinner on Thursday evening, 11 June
  • Conference fee of DKK 250,- (app. €35):  incl. 25% of VAT, lunches, beverages (excluding conference dinner)

Register here by 7 June 2015.

All sessions are open to the public, but participants with a conference fee pass have first priority to attend the sessions. Therefore, in order to be sure to attend the sessions we advise you to sign up for the conference.


This international multidisciplinary two-day conference is structured around the following four main areas:

  • “The Aging Human Individual: Body”
  • “The Aging Human Individual: Mind”
  • “The Aging Society”
  • “Aging and Culture”

The conference will contain 4 sessions, with 2 sessions held per day. Each session will commence with a keynote speech from one of the four academic areas mentioned above. Each keynote speech is followed by two-three short presentations, which respectively represent the three “remaining” areas (relative to the keynote speech in question). These presentations are thought of neither as oppositions nor as direct commentaries, but rather as supplementary remarks from the point of view of another disciplinary approach ‒ as a means to broaden the discussion and to ensure the multidisciplinary perspectives on the topic of the keynote speech in question. Hereby, a total number of 4 invited keynote speakers and 11 invited presenters will be engaged at the AIAS over the two days. Moreover, a common poster session is held in the AIAS Hall to further enlighten the conference topic.

Call for Posters: CLOSED

We invite researchers, scholars and PhD students of all academic disciplines to submit poster presentations that present research relevant to the conference topic as stated under 'Conference description'.

Proposers should submit an abstract of app. 100-150 words by 1 March 2015 to: administration@aias.au.dk

Proposals should include an abstract of the poster, name and contact information of the proposer. Proposers will receive notification on whether their proposal has been accepted by 23 March 2015.

Posters are to be presented during the conference days with one poster session each day.

As a poster presenter you will get the conference pass (incl. lunches, welcome reception) as well as the conference dinner for free.

Scientific committee

  • Prof., MD, AIAS Fellow Karl-Erik Andersson, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, USA
  • Prof. Torben M. Andersen, Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University
  • Prof. and AIAS Fellow Bent Jesper Christensen, Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University
  • Prof. Dorthe Berntsen, Center on Autobiographical Memory Research, Dept. of Psychology, Aarhus University
  • Associate Prof. Annette Bohn, AIAS Fellow, Center on Autobiographical Memory Research, Dept. of Psychology, Aarhus University
  • Prof. and AIAS Fellow Rane Willerslev, Anthropology, Dept. of Culture and Society, Aarhus University
  • Prof. Morten Kyndrup, Director at the AIAS