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CREATING A NEW OLD: A GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON CREATIVE AGEING - 8th–10th May 2012 The Royal Hospital Kilmainham Dublin

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CREATING A NEW OLDis a major global conference bringing together leading experts in a wide variety of fields to discuss key questions raised by demographic ageing. The event, which will take place May 8th–10thin Dublin, Ireland, is an initiative of Age & Opportunity and the Bealtaine festival. The international conference will explore the potential for creative activity to help people maintain dignity, quality of life and independent living throughout older age.  It also asks how to harness the creative powers of older people to make a positive contribution to society.

The conference will be a unique gathering of specialists in health, culture, arts, science, education, gerontology, social policy and tourism. Creating a New Old will showcase international best practice, innovation and opportunities relating to ageing from the arts and culture sectors, alongside scientific studies, economic research and policy initiatives. Speakers from across the globe will range from an advocate for cocktails in care homes (Susan Langford MBE) to “the source of an epochal revolution in the scope and purposes of dance art[i]”, Liz Lerman.

The core themes of the conference are:

  • 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 keynote speakers are:

 Mike White, Senior Research Fellow in Arts in Health, University of Durham, developer of arts for older people projects and public art commission

 Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age in 2011 Independent Age took over Counsel and Care for the Elderly – an advice and information charity 

 Anne Basting, author of Forget Memory, scholar and artist focused on the potential for the arts to improve quality of life in communities and individuals with cognitive disabilities

 David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation, a leading funder of arts work with older people

 Susan Langford MBE  Susan Langford MBE is the founder and Director of Magic Me one of the UK’s leading provider of intergenerational arts projects

 Liz Lerman  Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator, and speaker. Liz founded Dance Exchange in 1976 and has cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance

 Francois Matarasso  François Matarasso is a writer interested in how people create, receive and interact with culture. His current work, Regular Marvels, explores the margins of contemporary cultural life, such as amateur music and the experience of artists in old age

 Susan Perlstein, Susan Perlstein is the founder and director of Special Projects for the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, DC and the founder of Elders Share the Arts in New York City. She is an educator, social worker, administrator and artist.

Creating A New Old will be opened by His Excellency Michael D Higgins and addressed by Minister Kathleen Lynch, Ireland’s Minister with responsibility for Older People and Orlaith Mc Bride, Director, The Arts Council of IrelandIn attendance will be delegates from across the globe. The conference is one of the Irish flagship events celebrating EY2012: the EU Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.  It is appropriate that this conference should be taking place in Ireland, which has demonstrated itself a leader in matters of aging with Bealtaine, the world’s first festival celebrating creativity as we age, and which is proving an inspiration to events elsewhere in the world.

 President Michael D. Higgins says, “In its celebration of creativity through communities across Ireland, over its 17 year history, Bealtaine is changing perceptions and challenging misconceptions and stereotypes of, and around what it is to be, ‘old’ in Ireland… The participants and communities involved in Bealtaine are actively ‘Creating the New Old’.”

 Announcing the 2012 conference, Age & Opportunity Director Catherine Rose said, “Right now the reality of our ageing demographic is seen only negatively – an ever-increasing strain on limited resources, a social problem which our existing systems, infrastructure and even cultural activities struggle to deal with.  It’s only by altering the mind-set of society towards ageing – starting, most importantly by re-imagining our personal ideas about our own lives as older individuals – that we can begin to transform our lives and environment to a newer, more inspired and inspiring reality.”

 Dominic Campbell, Artistic Director of The Bealtaine Festival, said, “We simply can’t continue to define what is an increasingly large proportion of our life span by reference to an outmoded industrial revolution notion that life after 55 is redundant.  We must move from being threatened by the idea of ageing to being excited by it.  This is a global challenge, requiring a global shift in attitudes.  I believe that Ireland can lead this shift – and by hosting this conference we’re already doing so.”

Creating A New Oldhas been organized with the support of The Baring Foundation, Failte Ireland, The Office of Public Works (Ireland) and the EU Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.Bealtaine Festival is supported by The Arts Council Of Ireland

Places can be booked via:


Bealtaine, Age and Opportunity, Marino Institute of Education Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9.

Tel: 01 805 7709

or via www.eventbrite.co.uk

The Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s groundbreaking nationwide celebration of creativity in older age, is dedicated to changing individual and societal perceptions of ageing.  It has championed the notion of using the arts both as grease to bring diverse organisations together and as glue for focused action.

Now in its seventeenth year and featuring over 3,000 events around Ireland, the festival encourages experimentation, fluidity and collaboration. Prototype activities include intergenerational projects that facilitate social cohesion, acitivities that bring culture into care settings and activities that bring issues of ageing into cultural institutions. An important remit of the festival is to promote the issue of ageing as a key consideration in product, architectural and community design, with a stress on societal benefit and cost-effectiveness.

 Age & Opportunityis a not-for-profit organisation that promotes opportunities for greater participation by older people in society through partnerships and collaborative programmes.Age & Opportunity is developing the model established by The Bealtaine Festival in global settings, following invitations from Age Cymru in Wales, with Creative Scotland and Arts In Health Australia.

Media information:

Please contact Stephanie Dickenson Kate Bowe PR Tel: +353 (1) 652 0143 E-mail: Stephanie@katebowepr.ieMobile: + 353 (0) 87 993 7650