Wednesday 24 June 2015, 20:15 | By Adam Hallows
In the News June 2015 – Ageing Disgracefully?
At the recent Long Term Care Revolution Live events, CSL hugely enjoyed meeting the many revolutionaries who came together to reimagine the future of long term care and get health tech innovations to market faster. With 80+ expert speakers stimulating all sorts of great ideas we lit up the tweetosphere with 766,433 tweets, re-tweets and favourites across four days. As the radical concepts are taking shape, we thought we’d use this month’s news review to shine a CSL light on some of the ways the arts are being employed to support older generations right now, and how they may shape our world of tomorrow.
Is graffiti art, or simply vandalism? One group of revolutionaries in Portugal believe it is a very effective medium by which to ‘educate, inspire and change older members of society’.
With over 11,000 fans on Facebook, LATA 65 is a compelling social project using street art to ‘break down ageist stereotypes and cultural perceptions’, doing so with senior-focused theory seminars and two-day workshops.
It came about after founder Lara Rodrigues saw an opportunity to bring in the excluded groups of seniors, continually intrigued by the street art classes she’d been running for others. Since then the classes have been getting a lot of attention, and in a recent article on The Creators Project website, Rodrigues explained how they work:
“We talk about the differences between graffiti, street art and muralism, between their practices, codes and technique, between the writers/artists and so on. The purpose is to explain and make them understand and recognize what they see in the street. And after, we pass onto the practical part, where they start creating their tag and the project for the wall. They learn all and different techniques to work in the streets and after all these and prepared all for the wall, we go to the streets.”
The project’s not without its street edge however, as when confronted by police on one occasion, Rodrigues reported that many of her senior ‘graffiti crew’ actually wanted to go to the police station, suggesting that even as we age, the desire to rebel never really leaves us.
In their ongoing fight for funding and building a project from the ground up, she and LATA 65 are prime examples of the power of art (and we are calling it art) to fire the imagination, give people a way to connect and express themselves, and in some cases a reason to live.
The Telegraph recently addressed how a younger group of seniors, the so called ‘salt and pepper set’, are using their financial muscle to force programmers to rethink a reported trend of broadcasters targeting younger demographics.
Looking at how this age group view and consume tech, culture, fashion, self-perception and money, the article suggests there has been some ‘back-pedaling’ from cultural institutions on who they should be targeting, as there are, “currently 18.3 million over-55s in the UK, a figure that is expected to hit 20 million by 2018.”
It continues: “This age group will then make up one in three of the population. The over 50s contribute £300 billion to UK economy and the growth in spending among this demographic is higher than in any other.”
Kevin Lavery, the Vice Chairman of the Mature Marketing Association, interviewed in the article, said: “The fact is we are an ageing society. But that’s not the thing – the older demographic controls the world. It is becoming apparent to so many companies, because 80 per cent of the UK’s wealth is held by the over-50s.”
Although the article is certainly correct to point out that we should not be ignored or patronised just because we have passed a certain age, it does suggest that maintaining a cultural status quo is its main characteristic. We think our graffiti-ing grandmas suggest it won’t be long until these same programmers and marketers will also have to look at a generation beyond the contented Archer’s fan who want to engage with youth movements, the ‘reborn rebels’ who don’t mind embracing a little controversy.
PROVING THE LINK BETWEEN MUSIC AND HEALTH
Art has the power to change people’s lives for the better, but how do we measure its success? Two articles we recently tweeted focus on research currently being carried out on the physical benefits of listening to particular genres of music.
The Daily Mail article revealed that research by Oxford University found that ‘classical music actually lowers blood pressure, whereas fast-paced rap, pop and techno tunes had the opposite effect, raising the blood pressure of those who heard them.’
Lead author Professor Peter Sleight said: “Music is already being used commercially as a calming therapy but this has happened independent of controlled studies into its effectiveness. Our research has provided improved understanding as to how music, particularly certain rhythms, can affect your heart and blood vessels. But further robust studies are needed, which could reduce scepticism of the real therapeutic role of music.”
Further research may well be required, as findings from another study by the University of Queensland uncovered that ‘Listening to extreme music makes you more positive’.
Perhaps in the future every genre of music will come with a health warning, or be added to prescriptions, to be taken three times a day until symptoms desist.
As more research comes out around the health and social benefits of the arts, as well as tech innovations revolutionising our lives, then we’ll be sure to share it with you. Don’t miss a thing by following the CSL Twitter feed.