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New agency to offer support for arts and older people

03 Oct 2019

The Baring Foundation is backing the creation of an agency working with Manchester Museum that will advocate for, and support, the cultural sector to be more age friendly

Age friendly

Manchester Museum is the lead organisation in collaboration with the Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery and GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the ten GM councils and the mayor). MICRA (The Manchester Institute for Collaborative research on Ageing) is also supporting the programme. The partners have an internationally recognised track record in leading innovative age friendly practice, adopting a citizen-based approach which champions agency, active participation and work led by older people across the arts. 

The opportunity to be creative and to experience arts and culture is a right at any age. The agency will investigate the profound shifts needed to tackle ageism and create sustainable age friendly culture and communities. It will act as an advocate to funders and policy makers. It will also connect people and organisations leading age friendly culture across England and beyond. 

Since 2010, the Baring Foundation has dedicated its arts funding to work with older people. David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation said: “The Baring Foundation is coming to the end of a ten year programme of funding creative ageing across the UK.

"We are delighted to award the consortium led by Manchester Museums £250k to advocate for the development of this work, in particular emphasising its importance to English policy makers and funders. The record of Manchester for many years in engaging the arts to make it age friendly makes it the ideal place to take this work forward”

In its first year, the agency will initiate a major investigation into diversity, age and the cultural sector. Older people will lead decisions and identify priorities for the Agency. It will recruit partners nationally and internationally to lead lines of investigation, events and campaigns. 

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum and GM Ageing Hub Strategic Lead for Culture said: “It’s time to build momentum and for imaginative, brave thinking and action if we are going to address ageism and realise the potential of a creative ageing society.

"I’d encourage those who share this ambition - arts organisations, cultural leaders, policy makers, academics, artists and investors – to step up and get involved.”