Subject Term: Ageism & Advocacy

Building Bridges: Breaking Barriers Exhibit Addresses Issues of Ageism

The Building Bridges: Breaking Barriers exhibition is a call for attention and an attempt to address the profound issue of ageism engrained in our society. The pandemic era has not only helped unmask, but negatively fueled the already existing ageist sentiment, promoting the troubling narrative about the value of older adults in our society. Drawing artists from a range of disciplines, the exhibition reveals that curiosity, unbound imagination, and inventiveness are defining characteristics that only come with age. This exhibition is presented by Ruth’s Table, an arts nonprofit committed to increasing access to creative opportunities for older adults and adults with disabilities, providing an inclusive and inspiring environment for creative expression and intergenerational connections. It is curated by Hanna Regev.

The Stages of Age : Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture

Although the mention of aging and old age all too often conjures notions of rigidity, decline, and invisibility, the very act of acting, of taking on a new role, can challenge and expand popular conceptions of later life. The first study of its kind, The Stages of Age looks at the aging actor and at aging as acting in a wide array of American performances that interrupt, transform, and underscore stereotypes of old age. Anne Davis Basting argues that advancing age is an essential category that should not be overlooked in discussions of identity and difference.

AARP’s BACK TO WORK 50+ Program

From the AARP Site:

50+ jobseekers need help gaining skills, finding jobs and building financial security. One promising approach is to encourage existing community intermediaries — like community colleges and workforce investment boards — to put new emphasis on helping 50+ workers find new and better jobs. The AARP Foundation’s BACK TO WORK 50+ program is supporting over 20 sites across the country as they build programs and services targeting 50+ workers. BACK TO WORK 50+ connects 50+ workers with information, training, support, work experience, and employer access they need to get back into the workforce and sustain their income through employment. Early results suggest that this approach may bear fruit, as thousands of 50+ job seekers have called the AARP Foundation’s national toll-free hotline just in 2014.

Ageism in America

From the Introduction to this study from The Anti-Ageism Taskforce at The International Longevity Center:

“…it must be noted that the status of older persons and our attitudes toward them are not only rooted in historic and economic circumstances. They also derive from deeply held human concerns and fears about the vulnerability inherent in the later years of life. Such feelings can translate into contempt and neglect.”

Creative Aging Experts Address Ageism at Grantmakers in the Arts Conference

In October 2019, the National Guild for Community Arts Education presented the professional development workshop, “Age Equity: The Impact of Ageism on Arts Funding and Programs,” at the 2019 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference: Cultural Intersections in Denver, CO.  This workshop featured moderator, Adam Johnson, Chief Operating Officer at National Guild for Community Arts Education, Annie Montgomery, Director of Education at Lifetime Arts, Eliza Kiser, Director at Pullen Arts Center, and Teresa Bonner, Executive Director at Aroha Philanthropies. This highly interactive workshop addressed, “the last socially acceptable prejudice,” ageism and how it is preventing full access to arts learning and engagement for upwards of twenty percent of the U.S. population.

Older People Are Ignored and Distorted in Ageist Marketing, Report Finds

From The New York Times: “Older consumers, who hold trillions of dollars in spending power and make up a growing portion of the global population, would seem to be a prime target for advertisers.Instead, the demographic is shunned and caricatured in marketing images, perpetuating unrealistic stereotypes and contributing to age discrimination, according to a new report.