Aynsley is a Toronto-based Artist and Social Worker (inactive until January 2018). She received her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from The New School in New York City in 2007, and her Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto in 2014 with a specialization in Aging and Supportive Care Across the Life Course. Aynsley is a Social Worker at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and is a member of the Toronto Age Studies Collaborative (TASC) research group. In July 2016 Aynsley organized and managed an art exhibit in conjunction with the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. The exhibit was a collaboration between the Alzheimer Societies of Toronto and Canada, and showcased visual art by persons living with dementia and their family members from across Canada.
Aynsley's artistic practice has been focused on exploring dementia and its effects on identity, relationships, and meaningful engagement through sound and voice. As Angelo Murreda of the University of Toronto wrote in response to The Sounds of Forgetting, her work is “a phenomenological effort to recreate the embodied process of a mind in the active process of remembering and forgetting.” Aynsley has presented her work internationally in university classrooms, hospitals, academic conferences, arts festivals and on CBC Radio, challenging assumptions about aging, memory loss and dementia. In September 2015 she was the keynote speaker at the MemoryShift conference in Toronto, hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University. In October, 2017 Aynsley was invited to speak at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she presented her sound installation, Turning, and reflections on living with dementia.
Aynsley was the Assistant Director and Dramaturge for Cracked, New Light on Dementia, a groundbreaking play that has been the focus of a three-year study through the Partnerships in Dementia Care and the University of Waterloo. Keep an eye out for upcoming performances in Toronto and the surrounding areas. Finally, her chapter, "Hooray for You and Me: The Story of a Theatre Group" was published in a new anthology: Care Home Stories: Aging, Disability, and Long-Term Residential Care.
The book is now available in print, and will be offered online free of charge (open access) in the new year, so stay tuned!