Validating older people as creatives not crumblies

Does it surprise you to hear that ‘older people’ are often defined as anything from 50 years upwards? Categorising people in this way means that someone in their early fifties might be lumped together with someone in their late eighties in terms of their likely tastes and interests.

Swale & Medway is an area with a large – and growing – older population, so is naturally a focus for Ideas Test. Over the past three years we have supported local people who want to make creative activities happen with and for older people; and older people who want to get creative with their peers. Targeted callouts through our Third Age Creatives programme have resulted in fantastic projects in care homes, amongst other locations, such as Amanda Thesinger’s Tea Trolleys, and Creative Communications at Avante Care Home in Medway. Whilst a dance and movement project, Late Developers, with older residents of Faversham’s Almshouses have seen beautiful results such as the digital art piece Nattering Nuptuals.

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Dance and movement for older people continues to be supported by Ideas Test and next month sees dance company Moving Memories Dance Theatre coming to No.34 in Sittingbourne, for a series of street performances on Sat 18th June. As part of this celebration of third age creativity, Ideas Test is offering free dance and movement workshops, Sittingbourne Shimmies, led by members of Moving Memories to women aged 50+ and are keen to hear from anyone who would like to take part.

Sian Stevenson, Director of Moving Memories, says: ‘We’re looking for 10 people – men and women – to join us in experimenting with movement – no experience necessary. Our workshops are not precious at all and are really just a fantastic opportunity to move, maybe make a performance, meet people and have a laugh!

‘We work with Doris, a digital projected image of a woman moving through the dance steps. Doris helps workshop participants remember the moves, she creates an atmosphere that helps people to relax and let down their inhibitions.

‘I believe that what we do validates older people as artists, we want to remind them that what they have and are experiencing in their lives is important, it’s interesting so let’s share, celebrate it and maybe even give it a platform.’

If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved in Sittingbourne Shimmies, we are looking for a commitment of one workshop per week. To find out more, contact us via by email at contact@ideastest.co.uk or via phone on 07713 865955.