We did it! The first English Festival or arts and creativity for older people went with a bang and laid the foundations for future festivals. Thanks to you who got behind the initiative with a passion; we look forward to working with you again in the future. We had hundreds of events registered across the country, many of which were new activities, specifically generated for the festival. It was great to showcase such an array of opportunities. We appreciate that not everyone was able to contribute but we are keen to support you to take part this year. The Age of Creativity Festival will run 1-14th October 2018, then we plan to upscale in 2019 during a month long event for the whole of May. It is all subject to funding (of course!), but we have high hopes and big plans - so watch this space.
The 10 Ageing Provocateurs that presented their ideas during the festival prompted much interest and debate on social media. A huge thanks to all our writers. If you missed them we have added them all to our website - search for Ageing Provocateurs. This work has prompted us to explore the role of a national campaign to support our work - more details to follow.
Love, Later Life: Creative Cultural Participation, (the main event for professionals during the Festival), was quickly oversubscribed and drew a large audience to Oxford. Presentations from Age UK, Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation, along with best practice examples gave much food for thought and generated a lot of discussion that was hard to contain on the day. It is clear the sector needs more opportunities of this nature - so this is something we will be exploring. For all those who missed it, there is a recording available to view on the Age UK Oxfordshire Facebook page; you can see Part 1 here and Part 2 here
The headline research event Do the Arts and Culture Really Impact the Health and Wellbeing of Older People? was a huge hit with all delegates. Presenters Dr Sarah Harper, Dr George Leeson, Dr Marcus Green and Dr Daisy Fancourt delivered a lively, thought-provoking few hours, presenting a range of new research alongside existing data that helped to illuminate the work we are doing and show how immediately relevant it is in our changing world. I know the research will be of great interest to many of you and we will make presentations available on the AoC website as soon as possible.
During the Festival we reached a lot of people via Facebook, Twitter and our website. We welcomed over 80 new Age of Creativity members taking our network to well over 1,000 Members.
We attracted 400 new Twitter followers, taking us to just under 3,500 followers and 1,000 on Facebook - smashing our annual targets. In fact our Facebook posts reached nearly a quarter of a million people during the festival alone!
This Year's Festival, 1 - 14th October, will be an even bigger and better event - so start planning now! If you want to make sure you have notifications about the Festival early in order to plan your events, do sign up as a member here, it's FREE. You can also sign up for news of your areas of interest which will include research papers, events and news.
The Age of Creativity Festival is part of a two year national project, kindly funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Baring Foundation. Many thanks to all of the partners and supporters that helped to make it happen.