Invitation to explore art and ageing

An art exhibition that explores and brings to the fore some of the complex issues around frailty and ageing will open on 11 April, with a launch event at the praxis ARTSPACE in Bowden.

The exhibition, titled Beyond Measure, will feature work by Dr Mandy Archibald, a health researcher and cross-disciplinary artist with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and fellow artists John Blines and Amber Cronin.

It builds on Dr Archibald’s postdoctoral research with the Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing in Adelaide, which explores the beliefs, experiences and misconceptions about frailty and ageing.

Part of a project funded by Inspiring South Australia (which focuses on bringing science into the community), the exhibition will be complemented by a workshop and performance in Yankalilla on 24 April 2019.

Led by Dr Archibald, who is also a Canadian Institute of Health Research Fellow, the larger project ‘frailty, ageing, and the stories we tell’ aims to translate the science of frailty and ageing into the community through art. It builds on a ‘Perform your science’ National Science Week competition Dr Archibald won last year with her team (including Petra Szabo, Cameron James, Rachel Bruerville, Alex Charman, Samuel Matthewman and Fraser Dempsey), which took the audience on an emotional journey of her research through dance, music and lighting.

“Following a re-staging of Untangling Frailty and a presentation of the research data underpinning it, the workshop will see the audience broken into small groups, where participants will work with the performers to create their own artistic reflections to the performance and presentation concepts” Dr Archibald explains.

These include perceptions frequently experienced by older members of the community, such as how we see ourselves versus our chronological age, and fears around frailty and growing old generally, to which Dr Archibald offers alternative ways of thinking.

She says the project as a whole is designed to confront the conventional thought patterns associated with frailty and ageing.

“Many people (incorrectly) think frailty is something that inevitably happens to us as we age, and that there is nothing we can do about it. As a result, many people find it terrifying,” she says.

“This project is designed to create a safe space for exploring and discussing issues around ageing, demystifying it and targeting the stigma that unfortunately can accompany the ageing journey.

“It’s all about encouraging us to think differently, and empathically, about ageing.”

Dr Archibald says while the categorisations and classifications common in medical research and practice are useful, the complexities and ambiguities of experience are a necessary complement. She hopes her work will help communicate some of these and encourage alternative ways of thinking.

“Ageing happens to all of us and it’s important that people are able to explore the issues, and engage with the research, in a positive way. Art of course is a wonderful medium to assist in that process.”

The exhibition will run at praxis ARTSPACE from 11 April to 10 May 2019.

Beyond Measure opening night

Where: praxis ARTSPACE 68-72 Gibson Street Bowden

When: 6:00 – 8:00pm Thursday 11 April

No registration required. Staff, family and friends are invited to attend this free event.

Together with Flinders University, Dr Archibald’s work is supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, and the NHMRC funded Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing. “Ageing, Frailty and the Stories We Tell” is supported by Inspiring South Australia.

Posted in