The art of ageing
It was the name of the event that caught my eye at first. (B)old. How clever is that? I'm definitely all for the idea of being old and bold. And I was even more intrigued when I discovered that it was a new, 6-day festival showcasing artists aged 65 and over, including interviews with the jazz legend Dame Cleo Laine and best-selling author Judith Kerr, various performances and discussions and a day-long symposium on 'Creative Ageing'.
Drawn by the blurb on the symposium, which promised to explore 'how the arts can have a positive impact on older lives', with case studies from around the world, I signed up.
It turned out to be an inspiring, fascinating and informative day. There was a panel discussion on key stories relating to ageing in the papers; the case studies of projects involving older people and the arts from countries including Taiwan, Holland, Japan - which apparently has the fastest ageing population in the world. By 2060, nearly 40% of the population will be 65 or over - and Finland, the country with the most rapidly ageing population in Europe, second only to Japan in the world. Plus a wonderful performance by a troupe of older dancers entitled (G)Rave.
Oh and I also met Heydayer Sonja, and learnt all about the fantastic work she is doing to bring the talents and stories of older actors to public attention.
However, what made the greatest impact on me was the opening address by 64 year old Jude Kelly, the Artistic Director of the Southbank, where the festival was held. What she had to say about ageing and our attitudes towards it was so powerful and thought-provoking. I urgently needed my sadly-long forgotten shorthand as I scribbled down her words of wisdom. Here are some of my highlights:
"The conversation about age is still finding its language"
"We need to give permission for everyone at every stage of their life to be fertile, powerful and potent."
"We've only recently started to talk about ageism seriously and rail against the idea of diminished older age."
"There's nothing wrong with being the age you are. Claim it! Older age is nothing to be ashamed of."
"It's very important that we stop thinking about ageing and old age as being a problem and rather see it as a human resource of experience that we need to draw on."
"You are burnished in time by the experiences you have in your life. By the grief and the heartache as well as the joy."
See what I mean about powerful? What's your view about age/ageing? Do you agree with Jude?
This week's other new post is all about shoes - the sort that not only look fab, but are properly comfortable. Want to know more? Of course you do! Click here then