As part of our inquiry on the future of ageing, we have begun a series of creative engagement workshops with two events with older people in Bristol and Manchester.

These workshops have enabled our working group on ageing to hear directly from older people about their experiences of science and health technologies and their views on how these might affect their lives in future.

The first workshop focused on using drawing as a creative medium and was run online with ten members of the Bristol Older People’s Forum (BOPF).

Members were invited to draw how science and health technologies might support a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ older age in a medium of their choosing. Working group member Muna Al-Jawad – a cartoonist, and consultant in medicine for older people at the Royal Sussex County Hospital – facilitated the workshop and invited to participants to discuss their drawings and the ideas behind them. The session brought a rich discussion of technologies and older age which was used by Dr Al-Jawad to produce a ‘meta-cartoon’ which draws together participants’ contributions (see below).

The second workshop involved members of the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network (GMOPN), and other residents in Manchester, who participated in an open forum organised in collaboration with Sonder Radio.

The event included a performance from renowned poet Roger McGough, who read his poem ‘Love later life’, a piece commissioned by Age UK in 2014. It also included performances from musician Martin Stephenson who performed ‘Old and only in the way’. The performances were used to open discussions with the workshop’s 15 participants around issues such as their concerns around getting older, the technologies that might be used to support them in older age, and what the future of ‘living well’ in older age might ‘look like’.

A broadcast which brings together participants’ discussions will be aired on Sonder Radio’s platform in the next month, and we will share this on our social media channels when it is available.

These two workshops mark the first of series of creative activities the working group will carry out over the next year. We would like to hear from any groups across all age ranges who might be interested in collaborating with us on future workshops (please contact kharvey@nuffieldbioethics.org).

Our thanks go to all who supported us in organising and running these workshops.

Alice in techland 1

Cartoon summarising participants’ drawings and discussions at the Bristol Older People’s Forum drawing workshop. Drawn by Dr Muna Al-Jawad.

Alice in techland 2

Cartoon summarising participants’ drawings and discussions at the Bristol Older People’s Forum drawing workshop. Drawn by Dr Muna Al-Jawad.

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