Age and cinema in the spotlight at Leeds Met
Jennifer Granville and Ann Tobin of the Northern Film School and Dr Mark Robinson of the School of Health and Wellbeing received funding from Europe's lifelong learning programme, Grundtvig, to work alongside researchers in Portugal, Italy and Slovakia to find out what is needed to have a healthy and active old age.
During the two-year project, the Leeds Met team will be looking at European cinema to examine how age is portrayed, how stories are told about old people and how real life problems are addressed. They are looking for volunteers to take part in focus groups to identify the films that older people find relevant to their lives.
Members of the focus groups will then be invited to make their own films at the Northern Film School, addressing the competencies needed to be healthy in old age. The researchers will be using the films produced by the volunteers as part of an information pack for those working with older people, to show them how to engage people in the ageing process. The pack will also include a list of films chosen by the focus groups that can engage older people in these issues and get them working creatively.
Jennifer commented: "This is a very exciting project - the Northern Film School is totally committed to lifelong learning and has a lot of experience in developing creativity and skills in non-traditional learners through our Foundation Degree in Film and Television Production. Now we have the opportunity to extend our offer to an entirely new sector.
"We know that older people have a rich store of stories to tell that relate to both their past and their present, and that they will relish the opportunity to learn the latest technology to bring those stories to an audience. We are also very much looking forward to the interaction we will encourage between these older learners and our students on our BA and MA Filmmaking degrees, and the research results as to how that impacts on active ageing."
Dr Robinson will be inputting research into active ageing, specifically around civic and community engagement, physical health, emotional wellbeing and social engagement, continuing learning, economics and technology; overseeing and compiling all of the evidence reviews across all four countries in the project and ensuring that the research evidence is integrated into the whole project.
Dr Robinson commented: "This multi-centre project is very exciting from the perspective of research into active ageing and wellbeing. It is very important to support men and women in ageing actively and creatively for several reasons. These include: health reasons, as engaging and creative activity can help to support and foster emotional wellbeing; demographic reasons in an 'ageing society' where it is now possible to speak of several phases of older age; citizenship and economic reasons, as prolonging wellbeing and encouraging social participation in arts among older people can encourage more civic engagement and sustained productivity e.g. through volunteering or paid activities, peer support, creative output etc, while reducing the costs of lack of wellbeing."
If you are interested in taking part in the focus groups, please contact Jennifer Granville at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0113 812 8053.