Older people need access to arts, says Higgins
- Republic of Ireland
Older People should be given more opportunities to engage in the arts, President Michael D Higgins said yesterday. Fiona Gartland, Irish Times, reports:
Speaking at the opening of Creating a New Old: A Global Conference on Ageing, the President said it was ridiculous to think there was any part of the age cycle that excluded the arts.
A change in consciousness was needed to ensure inclusiveness for older people, he said.
The international conference, with delegates from the UK, US, Australia and the EU as well as from Ireland, is exploring how creative activity can help people maintain dignity, quality of life and independent living throughout older age.
Mr Higgins, who received prolonged applause from those attending the conference at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin yesterday, said the idea that older people are supposed to be “sitting there waiting for someone to dump your memories on” was wrong.
Older people must be given more opportunities to engage with the arts, he said, “and it must be a lot freer than it is”. He also warned against the introduction of charges to venues such as museums which are now free.
“Now is not the time for putting any barriers or charges, or anything, between people and enjoyment and participation in the arts,” Mr Higgins said.
Culture should be a “bedrock of citizenship” rather than a thing to be purchased, he said.
Organised by Age and Opportunity and the Bealtaine festival, the three-day conference is also exploring how the creative powers of older people can be harnessed for society.