Connecting through culture as we age: digital innovation for healthy ageing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Education

Abstract

This research project tackles the complex problem of how to increase participation in social and cultural life for all as we age which has been shown to make a vital contribution to raising quality of life. The project will address the fundamental issue that arts and cultural participation drops dramatically in older populations and that disabled, Black, Asian and minority ethnic and older people living in poverty are even less likely to participate. It will tackle inequalities related to accessibility and content of digital arts and cultural provision, enable vital R&D and establish new business models to encourage digital innovation in the arts and cultural sector to support healthy ageing. Arts and cultural organisations have been slow to adopt digital innovation, but there is huge potential in using emerging technologies to enable diversification of content and build new older audiences. The pandemic has increased the urgency to harness digital technologies to enhance the accessibility and content of cultural participation so that those who are socially isolated may be able to benefit, increasing their quality of life.

The impact of the project will be include: disabled, Black, Asian and minority ethnic and older audiences living in poverty participating in digital arts and cultural experiences that will support their social connections and contribute to improved quality of life; provision of vital R&D support for collaborations between cultural and technology sectors in designing digital innovations, helping them prosper and thus contributing to regional and national sectoral growth; supporting creative industries to build a better understanding of diverse older audiences and to robustly evaluate their offer; and new evidence based policy making that tackles inequalities in arts and cultural provision for healthy ageing outcomes.

The project will involve an interdisciplinary team working alongside the cultural sector, creative technology partners and communities of 'next generation' older people (i.e. aged 60-75 years) to understand older people's experiences of digital exclusion, and what they value culturally and socially. This knowledge will then inform the co-design of digitally driven cultural experiences that 'support social connections'. The research will involve designing a new tool to measure the impact of digital cultural experiences on social connectivity for healthy ageing. The audience research will enable new understandings of digitally experienced cultural value, that takes account of older age and inequalities. It will provide robust evidence of how the cultural products we design can potentially contribute to next generation older people enjoying at least five extra healthy, independent years of life.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Connecting through Culture as we Age: Policy Support Fund
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2022 
End 07/2022
 
Description Age UK 
Organisation Age UK
Department Age UK Bristol
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Named project partner on Connecting Through Culture As We Age. We are feeding in our expertise around arts and culture and digital spaces to AGe UK Bristol.
Collaborator Contribution Supporting the development of the project by playing a key part in Advisory Board meetings; participating in the project co-design process; providing support for recruitment for the project evaluation stages; supporting dissemination of the research and demonstrator projects.
Impact Meetings with Age UK central including the lead for digital inclusion in AgeUK and the policy lead at AgeUK to discuss the project and possible national impacts.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Alive 
Organisation Alive Activities
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Named project partner on Connecting Through Culture As We Age. Linking Alive with broader networks in the city and region to support their own digital design work through the project.
Collaborator Contribution Working with researchers and a group of ~20 older people to conduct ethnographic research regarding digital participation and social connectivity; supporting design and facilitation of workshops; feeding in expertise and ongoing findings from project work exploring issues related to older people and digital exclusion in communities and in care settings.
Impact Alive worked with us to co-design of KWMC workshops to be inclusive of older people, based on their experience of working with older adults in digital spaces.
Start Year 2021
 
Description BSWN 
Organisation Black South West Network
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Named project partner on Connecting Through Culture As We Age. Providing BSWN with opportunities for their network of voluntary and community sector organisations to become involved in digital co-design processes
Collaborator Contribution Using trusted links with racially minoritised groups to support recruitment of co-researchers; participating in the project co-design process;
Impact Recruitment of four racially minoritised co-researchers who are now involved in the project. We are collecting evidence from co-researchers about their ongoing involvement and the impact of this on their social and cultural lives Co-researchers have taken part in 8 workshops organised by KWMC (see listing for more information) Co-researchers have produced Albums reflecting on their lives and have been involved in interviews - therefore contributing to our rich data set.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Bristol Culture 
Organisation Bristol City Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Named project partner on Connecting Through Culture As We Age. We are meeting regularly to discuss arts and health policy and strategic work in the city and region and how this relates to ageing.
Collaborator Contribution Providing city wide cultural and social context from a local authority perspective and an audience user perspective as a direct provider of cultural services; helping to link the project in with the cultural sector through networks from venue based cultural assets to independent practitioners working in socially engaged art practice; connecting to organisations and agendas through Arts and Heath development work.
Impact Meeting with key representatives from local and regional organisations working in the arts and health space.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Culture Commons 
Organisation Culture Commons Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Named partners on funded policy support work on Connecting through Culture as we Age
Collaborator Contribution Working collaboratively to enhance policy influence. Advising on stakeholder mapping, communicating project policy outputs with policy makers, advising on the planning of policy events.
Impact Outputs/outcomes expected over the next 12 months and will be reported in our 2023 Researchfish return
Start Year 2022
 
Description KWMC 
Organisation Knowle West Media Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Named partner on Connecting Through Culture As We Age project; helping to widen the range and diversity of people accessing their spaces and events through our work with older adults from minoritised groups.
Collaborator Contribution Designing and running workshops; providing use of its building and digital technology resources for meetings involving artists and researchers, support from technicians and other staff support and expertise.
Impact 8 workshops introducing co-researchers to design and creative process. The workshops also supported them to bring their lived experience into co-design processes and introduced them to cutting edge digital technologies.
Start Year 2021
 
Description PM Studio 
Organisation Pervasive Media Studio
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Named project partners on Connecting Through Culture As We Age. Working with them to consider how older adults can be involved in digital co-design processes.
Collaborator Contribution Producing inclusive design principles; developing and disseminating a competitive open call for participation in workshops; designing and facilitating practitioner workshops as part of our co-design process, providing business support and creative producer time.
Impact Will be developed over the next 6 months
Start Year 2021
 
Description Socio-gerontechnology network 
Organisation Utrecht University
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am a founding member and on the executive committee of a newly established international network exploring Ageing and Technology - called the socio-gerontechnology network. The network is international and includes members from across the globe and includes prominent figures in the field of ageing and technology from across Europe and North America. The network is beginning to have an influence on the field of technology design for older people through challenging accepted discourses around what technology designs might be appropriate. In addition a new edited book will be published in the next few months which sets the scene for ageing and technology research in the next decade. The network is also working on briefing papers and I am running a series of online events for the network in 2021 entitled 'International conversations in ageing and technology'.
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative research awards Seminars for practitioners and academics - A co-edited book and several journal special issues. Tracks and symposia at academic conferences
Impact Seminar series - INternational Conversations in Ageing and technology Co-edited book in press This is multidisciplinary collaboration between design researchers, HCI researchers, social scientists, anthropologists and arts and humanities scholars
Start Year 2018
 
Description WECIL 
Organisation West of England Centre for Inclusive Living
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project partner. Feeding in our findings in relation to the lived experience of 60-75 year old disabled older adults to improve their practice in relation to older people. Linking WECIL with other project partners working in the digital space to support their work with clients.
Collaborator Contribution WECIL's broad experience and knowledge of working with disabled people; recruitment of co-researchers; working alongside the project team and the co-researchers to design a programme of activities and workshops.
Impact Recruitment of 6 co-researchers who are now actively involved on the project and who are gaining culturally and socially from their involvement. We are collecting evidence from co-researchers about their ongoing involvement and the impact of this on their social and cultural lives Co-researchers have taken part in 8 workshops organised by KWMC (see listing for more information) Co-researchers have produced Albums reflecting on their lives and have been involved in interviews - therefore contributing to our rich data set.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Wales Centre for Public Policy 
Organisation Wales Centre for Public Policy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Sharing and discussing project findings to contribute to the evidence base informing/influencing policy decisions.
Collaborator Contribution Representative (Hannah Durrant) on project Knowledge Exchange Panel; contributing to policy support work through advising on stakeholder mapping, communicating project policy outputs with policy makers, advising on the planning of policy events.
Impact Outputs/outcomes expected over the next 12 months
Start Year 2021
 
Description Arts and health meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The meeting brought together representatives from third sector organisations and practitioners in Bristol and the South West region who are leading work in the area of arts and health. The purpose of the meeting was to map activity already happening in the region and to explore opportunities to collaborate to build a stronger evidence base for the work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Co-researcher workshop series 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Workshop series to bring co-researchers together, build relationships further and develop skills through activities based on specific interests/activities. Workshops included: 'Enjoy poetry'; 'Shooting a tabletop film'; 'Oral Histories - the power of personal stories'; 'Foliage and Fish - fabric collage'; 'Spiced tea making'; 'Introduction to digital security and privacy'; 'Photographing hidden corners for small scale journaling'; 'Make the most of Zoom and other communications'; 'Connecting through everyday photography'; 'Routes to sharing'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Experts Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Speakers from an eclectic range of backgrounds and organisations offered insights from their work with older adults to deliver cultural activities during the pandemic. This involved describing their experiences in developing and applying creative and inclusive methods with older people; delivering cultural activities; and describing the landscape of digital inclusion and cultural participation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://connectingthroughcultureasweage.info/event-highlights-part-one-older-people-and-cultural-par...
 
Description KWMC workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Workshop series designed with our project partners (Knowle West Media Centre) to support our co-researchers to learn about digital design and make further social and creative connections.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Knowledge Exchange Panel meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Knowledge Exchange Panel members (academics, stakeholders, users, co-researchers, practitioners, industry and policy actor) were brought together for discussion and interactive work to identify relevant networks relating to policy, industry, sector specific or funding networks in the areas of arts and culture, social connectivity, co-design and co-production, digital inclusion and digital innovation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Project partners event 1 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact This event brought together our project partners to discuss motivations, values, outputs, impacts and some of the key questions of the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Project partners event 2 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The event brought together our project partners for the project team to present initial findings and emerging themes from our research. Questions, comments, and insights from the partners were generated in the discussion that followed and a high level of engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description ScienceUp Consortium 2030 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Sharing of good practice from the UK with a consortium of 3 Chilean universities to help promote and support innovation, entrepreneurship, industry collaboration and female leadership. As an international advisor to three Chilean universities KC shared her experiences in these areas including the VRO project. International but predominately Chilean, included government ministers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.noticias.ucn.cl/destacado/consorcio-science-up-realizo-exitoso-encuentro-anual-en-valpar...
 
Description Speaker at UKRI HEalthy Ageing community of practice event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact UKRI Healthy Ageing Community of practice is run by the Centre for Ageing Better. I was asked to present my understanding of digital inclusion and older adults at the event. Over 50 people attended who are involved in or want to be part of the community of practice- this involved practitioners, policy makers, designers and business and industry leads
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://ageing-better.org.uk/digital-inclusion
 
Description Temple Quarter Research & Innovation Board presentation at University of Bristol 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation to Temple Quarter Board comprised senior management and representatives from industry, including details of Connecting through culture project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021