Demonstrate that your organisation values all generations by signing up to the Family Arts Campaign's Age-Friendly Standards.
Organisations that sign-up to the Age-Friendly Standards value all generations and want to provide a welcoming and positive experience for everyone, regardless of their age.
While many of the Age-Friendly Standards relate to general inclusive practice, they also acknowledge that older people may be more likely to experience barriers to engagement than younger family members (ComRes poll for Arts Council England, 2016) and there is a need for cultural organisations to adopt measures to discourage the reported drop-off in cultural engagement amongst older people (Taking Part Survey, 2015/16). This is further reinforced by Age UK's recent research that identifies cultural engagement as the biggest contributing factor to wellbeing in later life.
The Age-Friendly Standards also acknowledge the significant benefits of providing opportunities for different generations to engage in cultural activities together, and encourage organisations to facilitate these experiences.
Who are the Age-Friendly Standards for?
The Age-Friendly Standards apply to any type of cultural experience, from museums, concert halls, libraries and art galleries, to dance companies, theatre groups, music ensembles and festivals.
They are designed to complement the existing Family Arts Standards which codify good practice in welcoming families. Displaying the Age-Friendly Standards logo affirms that an organisation has considered the often more complex needs of older visitors, either in their own building or venues in which they present their work.
An organisation that displays the Age-Friendly Standards will:
- Facilitate relationships between the different generations the organisation interacts with
- Aim to foster relationships with older people not only as audiences but as volunteers, ambassadors, trustees and active participants in the organisation
- Acknowledge that older people are not a homogenous or distinct visitor segment but a diverse group with a wide range of abilities, tastes etc. The organisation will respond in ways that are appropriate to individual needs, informed by individuals themselves
- Be open and willing to learn from older people and solicit their views, either formally or informally
- Encourage relationships with other places and services older people may use (e.g. health and care facilities, housing providers, adult learning centres, libraries, clubs and societies and community centres)
- Consider working in partnership with other age-friendly cultural organisations and venues in the local area to help inform older people about the whole cultural offer that is available to them
- Encourage artistic work that has the ability to inspire, articulate and celebrate life in older age
- Avoid making assumptions about taste and recognise that with any large and diverse group comes diverse interests. Ensure that the views of older people are represented on any consultation panels or questionnaires
- Aim for intergenerational provision to be integrated into the whole programme and sustained beyond specific participation or engagement initiatives
- Think about collaboration, co-production and work that is not only for older people, but with and by older people - as programmers, facilitators and artists
- Consider timings and times of day in programming - including matinees and daytime activities. Build in extra time for getting settled, intervals and comfort breaks. Also factor-in local public transport provision and be aware that where it is unavailable at certain times (particularly at night), this may present a significant barrier, as well as potential hidden costs
Download the Age-Friendly Standards to read on:
Age-Friendly Standards (PDF)
Image by Ros Chesher