Date: Monday 24 September
Where: Australia Council for the Arts
372 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
Admission: Free for SAMAG Members
Non-members $20, students $10 via Eventbrite
In Australia, older people have been largely been ignored by arts companies and policy makers when it comes to opening doors for cultural participation and career progression. There are signs this is changing as evidence mounts linking cultural participation and wellbeing. SAMAG has brought together a team of experts and participants to discuss the opportunities and challenges of working with this rapidly growing segment of the Australian population, and how existing artists can sustain a career as they age.
Chair: Judith Bowtell: CEO Milk Crate Theatre, which runs the only training course in the country for late career artists
Leadership and career coach for arts professionals
Margret Meagher: Executive Director, Arts and Health Australia (AHA)
Director, Australian Centre for Arts and Health Limited
Creative Ageing Strategy, NSW Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing
Joanna Maxwell: Director, Age Discrimination Team at Australian Human Rights Commission
Author: Rethinking Your Career In Your 40s, 50s and 60s
Georgina Wood: Participant of the Milk Crate Theatre program and now establishing her career as an actress and artist.
Margret Meagher is the Founding Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Arts and Health (www.artsandhealth.org.au), a national organisation committed to the promotion of arts, health and creative ageing both in Australia and internationally.
Margret has been a leader in the arts and health field for the past two decades and was largely responsible for introducing the concept of creative ageing to Australia, folllowing her meeting, in 2006, with Dr Gene Cohen MD, PhD (1944 - 2009), the American geriatric psychiatrist who coined the phrase ‘creative ageing’. Dr Cohen’s famous catchcry was “Art is like chocolate for the brain”.
Dr Cohen was instrumental in shifting the emphasis in gerontological research from the problems of people as they age to their potential. He led the landmark research study in the US, titled ‘Creativity and Aging’ (2001-2005).
Since their meeting, Margret has been committed to advocating the significant value of professionally delivered arts programs for older people, to either support people living with a chronic condition such as dementia, or people living independently in the community and wishing to maintain their health and wellbeing.
One of the initiatives Margret established to achieve this was through organising an annual international arts and health conference, with a dedicated stream on the arts and positive ageing. First held in Port Macquarie in 2009, the conference is now celebrating its 10th anniversary in November this year, returning to where it all began on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Since 2011, Margret has been a member of the NSW Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing and in that role, has been instrumental in driving the development of a creative ageing strategy for the NSW Government, under the auspices of the Ageing portfolio of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and Create NSW. Margret is also a member of NSW Health Infrastructure’s arts advisory panel which advises on arts programs and creative design for NSW hospitals and health services.
Georgina Wood is an actor, writer and visual artist living in Sydney, who presented a solo art exhibition at the Leichhardt Library in December 2017. Her highlights with Milk Crate Theatre include: performing the lead female role of Pepper in Fearless (2012) for which she also wrote the song ‘Home is Where the Heart Is’ (now included in the HSC curriculum); appearing in the short film Invisibility (2015, awarded Best Macro Documentary at the Social Justice Film Festival Seattle); and two creative developments with the cutting-edge Branch Nebula, First Times (2015) and Feast (2016).
Georgina is passionate about Theatre of the Oppressed practice, and its ability to transform lives by discussing real stories by real people. She completed two weeks of intensive workshops with Katy Rubin of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC; making and performing in Under Construction and Meet The Jokers, in residency hosted by Milk Crate Theatre in 2016. Georgina has since worked as Assistant Director on Milk Crate Theatre’s Wasted (2016), as an actor in That's The Spirit (2017), and as Co-Joker on a Forum Theatre project for Link Housing (2017). She is currently working on the Pathways professional development program, being mentored by Community Arts and Cultural Development practitioner Alyson Evans, and hopes to direct a number of Forum Theatre workshops in the future.