While developing CAI I also freelance, taking on occasional work and projects. January saw the culmination of one of these, the Theatre of War Symposium at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland’s national theatre.
At their request I had researched, identified and transported academics and theatre makers from conflict zones to conversation with the Irish public. Through panels and presentations contemporary lived experience from Rwanda, Belarus, Congo, Palestine, Serbia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka entwined with considered analyses of Irish cultural and political history, reflections on the role of artists and the value of commemoration. Within this I was lucky enough to meet another new forming organization, Project Ariadne, and together we were able to bring six women artists working conflict zones together for the first time.
Which might seem like a project far removed from the concerns of creativity and older age. It’s not.
What struck me about the group gathered in Dublin as they shared stories about working with boy soldiers in the bush, with families made migrant, with generations coming to terms with genocide, was how much they loved life. How much they were trying, with the tools at their disposal, to live it as fully as they can.
They made the most of the time they spent together, they were hilariously funny, they were mindful of each other and they were grateful for the chance to spend time in each others company. It meant long intense days and enjoyable laughter filled nights.
In a short space of time, and perhaps because we were having fun, we learnt a huge amount about the environment people worked in. We heard a lot about the importance of establishing a working culture reflecting values you want to see develop. We saw how culture enables pragmatic strategy to evolve in areas where chaos makes other forms of planning difficult. We heard a lot about the importance of relationships, and connections, and trust and honesty. And food!.
These are all things that we’re trying to build into the DNA of Creative Aging International. As we set out to make performances that people enjoy we are also setting out to make places where people meet, so we might learn from each other’s experiences. And Quickly. Because there is a need to.
There is a simplistic tendency to describe aging populations as a crisis. It isn’t. Certainly not when compared with someone trying to resolve an issue by firing hard metal into your soft body.
What it is, is, a fundamental shift. If we are able to engage with this shift with open eyes and enthusiasm might it enable us to move other ways of thinking? Through out the symposium I was deeply struck by the realization that trauma breeds trauma over generations. If we can fall in love with our older selves can we change the legacies we bequeath future generations?.
Creative Ageing isn’t just about us. It’s about those that come after us, and about what we want to leave behind.
The two are connected:
What kind of old do you want to be?
What kind of world do you want to grow older in?
- Posted by Karl O'Brien
- On 24th January 2015
- 0 Comments