Given that Taiwan is predicted to become a super ageing society in 2025 (long before the UK), with 1 in 5 people over the age of 65, this was indeed a timely trip. My comrades in creative ageing were Phil Cave, Arts Council England, Anne Gallacher from Luminate Scotland, Joce Giles from Sadlers Wells and Ed Watts from the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.
Taiwan has some truly inspiring organisations for older people. In Taichung we visited the HQ of a national organisation, the Hondao Senior Citizens Welfare Foundation. It has three streams of work around 'filial piety', 'community care' and one called 'dreams never grow old'. It has over 400 staff, 2,000 volunteers and can be found across the island. Everything they do seems to combine flair with a sense of fun. The 'Go Grandriders Project' is a 13-day motorcycle road trip which has been made into a much admired documentary film.
There are a wide range of 'Bulao' or 'Never Old' projects as part of the 'dreams' strand:
a 'Never Old Band' where objects are recycled into musical instruments, as well as using conventional musical instruments. This has grown to 1,200 members in 47 bands;
the 'Senior on Broadway' competition climaxes with the performance of ten groups on Taipei's equivalent of the O2 Arena, broadcast to audiences of millions;
the Bulao Love project asked fashion photographers to take wedding photographs where there have never been any, which are then exhibited and put into a magazine;
initiatives don't always involve the arts. There's a Bulao Baseball League and a Bulao Soldier project involving spending a day with the Ministry of Defence reliving conscription.