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Leeds event to celebrate education for older people


Leeds Beckett University has partnered with the Association for Education and Ageing (AEA) to host a three-day international conference in November to celebrate creative approaches to older people’s learning.

ESREA conference

Taking place from Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 November at The Carriageworks in Millennium Square, Leeds, the eighth Education and Learning of Older Adults (ELOA) conference; ELOA is a network of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA), will bring together academics and arts practitioners from across Europe to share best practice relating to arts-based, community-based and creative approaches to older people’s learning.

Changing working lives, ageing populations, and insufficient health and social care are just some of the challenges that face European countries when it comes to older people’s learning. The ELOA conference will address these issues with the aim of supporting new practices and outcomes for learning in communities and across society.

Teresa Brayshaw, Principal Lecturer in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University and co-organiser of the conference, commented: “The School of Film Music and Performing Arts is extremely well-placed at the forefront of teaching creative practice in Higher Education to host this year’s conference, entitled ‘Identity, Voice, Creativity, Action!’ In addition to profiling ageing-related practice and research from colleagues right across our city and University, we will be welcoming up to 50 academic colleagues from universities and organisations across the globe including from Slovenia, India, Portugal, Germany and America.”

Delivering keynote presentations at the conference will be Anne Gallacher, Director of Scotland’s Luminate, one of Europe’s largest annual creative ageing festivals, Dr Victoria Watts, Chair of the Dance Department at Cornish College of the Arts, USA, Libby Costello, Senior Lecturer in Dance at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and Dr Wendy Martin, Public Health and Health Promotion Programme Leader at Brunel University, London.

Leeds Beckett University, which is a member of the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network, will present a film screening and theatre production as part of the conference, to celebrate the success of its CINAGE short courses for people aged 60 and over in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Jenny Granville with Jenny Zobel
Jenny Granville with CINAGE participant, Jenny Zobel

Teresa Brayshaw will present Talking ‘bout my Generation: a new theatre production about what it means to be an older person in the UK today. The piece has been devised by participants of the CINAGE Live performing arts course (ages ranging from 62-89 years) under Teresa’s guidance and direction and has been specially created for the international audience attending the conference.

Ann Tobin, Lecturer in the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett, will also present a series of short films written and made by participants on the CINAGE: Filmmaking for Active Ageing course.

Both CINAGE courses brought together older people with students and staff at Leeds Beckett University to support their creative work. The CINAGE project began in 2013, with the aim of exploring the EU’s recommendations for healthy, active ageing and increasing the reflection of the needs and concerns of older people in contemporary cinema. The CINAGE filmmaking programme has run each year since 2013 and, in 2017, CINAGE Live was piloted.

Teresa Brayshaw said: “Last year, Principal Lecturer and Head of Enterprise, Jenny Granville, and I co-presented a performative paper, ‘Senior Moments’, at the ELOA Network Conference in Wroclaw Poland. The paper reflected on the creative film and theatre-making opportunities being developed with older learners involved in the CINAGE and CINAGE Live projects at Leeds Beckett University. Our work was extremely well-received and we were subsequently invited to co-host this annual international conference with UK colleagues from the Association for Education and Ageing.

“We are thrilled to be presenting the results of the first CINAGE Live pilot performance course for older people aged 60+ which is the latest venture offered by the School of Film Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University. Using research and performance material developed in the process, the participants have explored strategies for uncovering stories and finding new performance forms to communicate them.”

Andrew Fryer, Dean of the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett, said: “As the first university in England to be awarded Age-Friendly status we recognise the wealth of experience and expertise that older mature students can bring to University life and, in particular, to enhancing the creative journey of our students in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts.

“Working with our first cohort of CINAGE Live performing arts students has been an absolute delight and I am looking forward to performing the song we have written together, All the World is Our Stage, at this important international conference in November.”

The conference also encompasses a series of interactive workshops including: Jayne Raisborough, Professor of Media at Leeds Beckett, presenting a film screening and opening a discussion on the subject of media representations of women ageing; a practical dance session led by Yorkshire Dance to develop a space for creative co-production with older adults; and a drama improvisation workshop to enhance social wellbeing.

Jane Watts, Member of the Association for Education and Ageing (AEA)’s Executive Committee, added: “The AEA is delighted to be working with Leeds Beckett University to host this year’s Education and Learning of Older Adults (ELOA) network conference. ELOA is a network within the European Society for Research into the Education of Adults - a pan-European association with considerable reach - given that some ELOA members live as far away as Australia and New Zealand.”

Founded in 1985, the AEA is an international membership organisation, open to all. Its concern is learning in later life. Its aims are to advance knowledge, to improve practice and to contribute to the development of policy. For more information, please click here.

Guests will also have the option of taking a silver screen historical guided walk around Leeds, an Indian meal at Aagrah and a dinner at the Tetley.

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