About Aynsley

Background and Training

Aynsley 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.  In July 2016 Aynsley planned, curated and executed 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 specializes in the expressive arts, improvisation, and mindfulness. She is a certified TimeSlips Storytelling facilitator, and trained with Anne Basting at her Create/Change Institute in Milwaukee in 2014. She is also certified in the CARERS program from the Reitman Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

Artistic Practice and Speaking Engagements

Aynsley's artistic practice has been focused on exploring dementia and its effects on identity, relationships, and meaningful engagement through sound and voice.  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. Most recently, 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. You can watch her presentation here.

Recent Work

Aynsley was the Dramaturge and Assistant Director 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. The play has been turned into a film, and the first screening was on January 19 2018 at the Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto. 

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) soon. In his review of the book for the Canadian Journal on Aging, Kenneth Rockwood called Aynsley's work "a compelling example of how effective institutional care can be."