Exploring ageism in Clarence

A UNIQUE intergenerational community project is shining a spotlight on what it means to age and live in the City of Clarence.

Spearheaded by Dr Peta Cook from the University of Tasmania, the new project is being delivered with assistance from the Tasmanian Community Fund and a State Government Liveable Communities Grant.

The project, which is unique to Australia, will investigate how local people in two different age groups – 13 to 19-years and 65-plus years – experience and understand their ageing.

As part of the project, participants will be asked to photograph their experience of ageing and then meet with Dr Cook to discuss their images.

They will also engage with the photographs taken by other project participants, with select images to be used in public exhibitions during 2019.

Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman said Clarence City Council was “delighted” to be partnering with Dr Cook, the University of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Community Fund and the State Government.

“Positive aging is already a focus for Clarence City Council and we are committed to continuing and building upon the success that we have already achieved in this space,” he said.

“No matter how old you are, we are all ageing, and the issues that affect the elderly today will one day affect us too.

“This project will provide us with new insights into what people of different ages need to support their current and future lifestyles.”

The project is in line with Council’s status as one of the first Australian councils, and the first in Tasmania, to join the WHO Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities.

Dr Cook has worked with the Council previously and is interested in how society works and the barriers that prevent social equality.

“My main focus is prejudice that is exercised toward individuals based on their age, which is known as ageism,” Dr Cook said.

“For decades, I have been concerned about the social prevalence of ageism and the stereotypes and myths of older age.

“Through my research, I am exploring ways to challenge ageism in our community.”

The new project, officially titled ‘Examining community needs and wants for an age-friendly intergenerational city’, is now underway.

Dr Cook said she hoped to have at least 20 people from both age groups become involved and was welcoming expressions of interest.

“I am interested to learn how younger and older people understand their ageing and lifestyle needs – both current and future – within the City of Clarence,” she said.

“This will help bring important understandings on the similarities and differences of needs across two generational groups.

“The project provides an excellent opportunity for community members to be heard.

“Not only will the outcomes help inform future developments within the City of Clarence, but those participating will have the opportunity to see some of their photographs in a 2019 exhibition.”

The TCF has supplied a $33,409 grant for the project, with $5000 supplied each from the State Government and Clarence City Council.

TCF chair Sally Darke said she was pleased to be behind the initiative, as the research would assist in making a difference to the social wellbeing of Tasmanians.

“In the past we have supported projects with the Clarence City Council and University of Tasmania and we are confident that the data from this research will assist in future policy and developments in Clarence and across the state,” she said.

An independent funding body, the Tasmanian Community Fund provides grants to community organisations that make a difference by improving the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the Tasmanian community.

To find out more about the project, contact Dr Peta Cook by emailing Peta.Cook@utas.edu.au, phoning 6324 3545 or visiting the Clarence City Council website at www.ccc.tas.gov.au.

Council is currently working on the final plan for the new Age Friendly Clarence Plan 2018-2022, which is now out for public comment until 6 May 2018.

The plan can be found online at www.ccc.tas.gov.au/intergenerational.

Caption: Dr Peta Cook from the University of Tasmania is spearheading the Intergenerational Project in Clarence.