As part of Bealtaine 2012, the ‘CREATING A NEW OLD’ global conference brought together leading experts in the field of creative ageing, drawn from the health, cultural, arts and education sectors to discuss questions raised by demographic ageing.
The conference explored the potential for creative activity to help people maintain dignity, quality of life and independent living throughout older age. It also built on the recognition that older people have the creative powers to make a positive contribution to society.
Keynote speakers included Susan Langford MBE, founder and Director of Magic Me (UK), Susan Perlstein, founder and Director of Special Projects for the National Centre for Creative Ageing in Washington, DC, Anne Basting, Director of the Centre on Age & Community at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Liz Lerman, founder of Dance Exchange. Opened by President Michael D Higgins and addressed by Minister Kathleen Lynch and Arts Council Director Orlaith McBride, the conference attracted 150 international delegates and was supported by the Arts Council, Baring Foundation, Fáilte Ireland and Gruntvig Strand of EU Education funding.
The core themes of the conference were:
- The potential for creative activity to maximise the ability of all individuals to maintain dignity and independent living throughout older age
- How to harness the creative powers of older people to make a positive contribution to society
- The mental and physical health benefits to the older individual of engagement with creativity and methodologies to facilitate it
- The benefits to the older population and society of a creative approach to the design and planning of urban environments and residential, social and health care systems
- How to develop and sustain partnerships between groups representing older populations, creative professional groups, policy makers and service providers
- The establishment of an international network developing creative policy responding to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing demographic.
The Bealtaine festival is supported by the Arts Council.
CREATING A NEW OLD was an initiative of Age & Opportunity and the Bealtaine festival.