Creative Ageing, Sydney 2015

A meeting of minds to inspire innovative and imaginative ideas about ageing creatively
Sydney Opera House and the Art Gallery of NSW
25 – 27 August 2015

Celebrate Creative Ageing Sydney, 25 to 27 August 2015 was convened by The Australian Centre for Arts and Health, exploring the importance of older people engaging in the arts and creative activities to foster good health and wellbeing as they age.

International guest speakers:

  • Anne Basting, Artist and Academic, University of Wisconsin, TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project and author “Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia” (USA)
  • Dominic Campbell, Artistic Director, Creative Ageing International (UK)
  • Gary Glazner, Founder, Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (USA)
  • Laurel Humble, Assistant Educator, Prime Time Program for Older Adults and Meet me at MoMA Alzheimer’s Program, Museum of Modern Art, New York (USA)
  • Brad Lichtenstein, Filmmaker, President of 371 Productions, Wisconsin USA (UK)
  • Gabbi Mesters, Project leader, EU Programme Long Live Arts, The Netherlands
  • Janet Morrison, CEO, Independent Age UK; Co-founder, Campaign to End Loneliness UK; Chair, Baring Foundation (UK)
  • Andrew Newman, Research Academic, Arts and Wellbeing in Older People, School of Arts and Cultures, University of Newcastle (UK)
  • Emma Robinson, Arts & Creativity Programme Manager, Age Cymru and Director, Gwanwyn Creative Ageing Festival, Wales (UK)
  • Ed Watts, Engagement Manager, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK.

Four workshops were held on Tuesday 25 August 2015 at the Art Gallery of NSW, led by Anne Basting, Dominic Campbell and Emma Robinson, Gary Glazner, Laurel Humble and Ed Watts.

A two day conference comprising plenary sessions then followed at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday 26 August and Thursday 27 August, 2015.

Celebrate Creative Ageing Sydney 2015 was presented with support from Arts NSW (speakers’ program and workshops), NSW Department of Family and Community Services (creative ageing resources), Local Government NSW, Regional Arts NSW, Whiddon Group, Baring Foundation, UK.

Evidence demonstrates the powerful impact that the arts have on the health and wellbeing of older people – enhancing quality of life for people seeking to remain fit and well as they age and for people with a chronic condition such as depression or dementia.

Health benefits through arts activities, such as dancing and singing, include improved mobility and motor control, improved heart and respiratory function, greater self-esteem and confidence, less reliance on medication and personal care, higher social engagement and beneficial effects on mental health.

Celebrate Creative Ageing Sydney explored what ageing looks like in the 21st Century and the benefits of creative ageing in terms of health, fitness, wellbeing and quality of life. The role of local government and the role of artists in supporting older people to age well was also examined.

In addition, Celebrate Creative Ageing Sydney considered ways to challenge the barriers for older people to access cultural activities and events, including how to change ageist attitudes in society, the most effective ways of disseminating information to older members of society, advocacy for public policy, improved transport options, and moving isolated older people from the widespread reliance on television to engaging with community life in a more active, meaningful and rewarding way.

Innovative creative ageing programs and research were showcased and reviewed encompassing “Arts on Prescription”, “Imagination and Dementia”, “End to Loneliness Campaign” and “ Reaching the hard to reach and most vulnerable older people through Creative Ageing programs”.