AGEING FACILITIES: an Exhibition of Age-Conscious Interventions
at the William Road Gallery, 7-9 William Road London NW1 3ER
Ageing Facilities is a new generation urban research initiative actively exploring other ways of using and re-imagining the urban environment in older age. From a choreographed exercise in 'elderly' transgression to a new age âsodcasting' device (designed exclusively for older adults) its practice is based on a wilfully playful programme of site-specific urban interventions.
This exhibition presents a snapshot of Ageing Facilities' practice as it has evolved over the last five years. With its liberal mix of poetic fantasy, ground-level engagement and focused research Ageing Facilities functions in a deliberately provocative way. Each intervention is devised as a playful provocation to thought: addressing the more serious, oftentimes neglected issues of elderly invisibility, mobility and acceptable standards of comfort and behaviour in public space but with a deliberate lightness of touch.
Most research/design strategies for the elderly tend to focus on a literal baseline of physical needs with design âsolutions' (to ageing) supplied via a limited palette of assistive devices and aids. But the approach of Ageing Facilities is different. With its playful-subversive focus its strategy is not so much solutions-driven as exploratory: committed instead to uncovering those small pleasures and possibilities of laying claim to the urban environment as you pleaseâ¦
Ageing Facilities is an urban research initiative set up and managed by Sophie Handler as part of her ongoing research into ageing and the urban environment. Support and funding for this work has been generously provided by the RIBA Modern Architecture and Town Planning Trust, the ICE/McAslan Bursaries and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK.
Sophie is currently completing a PhD at the Bartlett, UCL on alternative duties of care in elderly design, and is currently working on the evaluation of a specialist care unit for dementia patients in Lambeth together with the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Professor Helen Nicholson (Royal Holloway) and the charity, Age Exchange. Her work on Resistant Sitting (an Ageing Facilities intervention) is currently on display at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal until April 2012 as part of its Imperfect Health exhibition.
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