Our Public Wisdom group of local people over 55 were invited by local artist Chris Avis to contribute to her OpenLab five day residency at The Pit Theatre in The Barbican exploring art and ageing. Inspired by Chris’ research from her Winston Churchill Foundation fellowship on the perception and prejudice surrounding artists over 55 across Europe, the residency invited older creative practitioners from a range of fields to respond to her findings.
Our Public Wisdom group of 8 local people over 55 with an active interest in their public realm, as well as their own creative practices, responded to Chris’ research by creating an installation and holding a debate around art and ageing in The Pit Theatre space. Exploring ideas of ‘invisibility and visibility’ the group worked collaboratively using a selection of found materials from Cubitt to build an immersive den-like structure, which they adorned with brightly coloured banners stating slogans and quotes which they felt reflected how, in their view, older people should be perceived.
Reflecting traditional imagery of ‘wise elders’ the group sat around a contemporary campfire of domestic lamps they had brought in from home – signifying their own individuality and range of aesthetic interests. We then commenced our debate around our views on being a creative person over 55 as well as our responses to quotes from Chris’ research. Everyone had their voices heard, and the 50 minute conversation produced a huge range of opinions and some fascinating responses to the current arts climate and it’s relationship with older people.
Contact Cubitt Elders Programme Coordinator Eleanor Shipman to find out more on 0207 278 8226
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Cubitt Education is part of an artist-led organisation based in Islington, London. We work locally with schools, community centres and groups providing a diverse range of artist-led activities.