Artists will make art together with vulnerable older people, to create portraits of their lives, histories and what it means to age, confirming their value as living heritage, and enabling the re-imagining of futures that foster relations across generations and cultures in an ageing Europe.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Cologne, Germany, Prague, Czech Republic and Porto, Portugal
Europe is facing unprecedented challenges as the welfare system is crumbling. Current policy measures to reform care systems oscillate between the need to cut costs and the desire to create more humane communities in late life. This amounts to a real culture change, requiring a rethinking of values and concepts as fundamental as ageing, care, community, citizenship and life itself. Art can address these as it links past traditions and possible futures. This fits with new European realities, the blurring of the lifecourse, migration and diversity. Art with older people, who bridge times and ideas– enriches lives and futures. The art-communities, inspiring in process and results, will have a ripple effect that changes discourses and thereby conceptions of ageing.
Most art initiatives with older people focus on groups that function relatively well physically and verbally. We should also include people who have lost these capacities which can deliver benefits in wellbeing and open artistic possibilities. We aim to overcome the mechanisms that exclude fragile older people by enabling them to participate in art and unlock the potential of age or disability for creativity rather than see it as a limitation. A successful outcome is when older people have (re)discovered the thrill of creativity, which is rooted in their pasts and deemed meaningful to present and future selves and others; when their work has been made visible to a diversity of people across roles, origins, ages; and when this has inspired creative responses across European communities.
• Set up a network with people who share this cause among all stakeholders (managers, older people, families, care professionals, volunteers etc).
• We have a visual artist in Amsterdam and a dancer in Prague and we will select artists with prior experience in the Ruhr area and Porto.
• From January ‘16, the team of artists will start in their respective countries across Europe with diverse care traditions to carry out participative projects that bridge the gap of making and thinking. They will exchange work and experiences virtually, while engaging all those involved.
• Mid-term meeting: to sense each other’s fields of activity and build a vocabulary of understanding.
• Active dissemination through a cumulative chain-exhibition (additional funding will be sought).
Suggestions of all kinds to improve the idea or to form partnerships in this or new projects are always welcome