The Red Cross of Serbia is joining forces with five EU cities to fight old age discrimination as part of the EU-funded project Age against the Machine. Through theatre, the project will increase awareness, knowledge and interest among European citizens and decision-makers about ageism and the situation of older persons.
The project will connect five European towns in Serbia, Denmark, Italy, Poland and Portugal to confront ageism and social and economic inequalities experienced by older citizens in Europe. It will be based on the Global Report on Ageism published by the UN in 2021 and will use a combination of various participative methodologies applied in theatre. Through intergenerational collaboration (1400 direct participants) and artistic activism, the project will challenge existing laws and policies in Europe (including candidate countries) concerning older populations and promote equality and human rights as basic EU values. In particular, existing discriminatory practices targeting older citizens in various areas of social life, especially older women, will be investigated, presented and challenged.
Specific objectives of the project:
- To foster intergenerational dialogue and solidarity among young (18+) and older citizens from 5 EU countries regarding issues of older citizens and consequences of ageism;
- To empower older citizens to raise their voice and take participation in decision making processes regarding their status, position and quality of life;
- To change the image of older people, which is the result of ageist prejudices;
- To improve the skills and capacities of partners in the domain of different applied theatre techniques, as one of the most important artistic methodology for dealing with social issues, specially that concerns older citizens;
A project steeped in culture
The project activities will include interactive theatre performances with national debates involving audiences, interactive festivals (Holstebro, Cuneo, Evora, Goleniów, Novi Sad), international conference and a host of smaller public events (flash mob actions in public spaces, recorded and distributed online as well as five short video animations, tackling ageistic topics that will be released and boosted on social networks. The methodology developed in the project is based on the history of socially engaged art, Community theatre and particularly Theatre of the Oppressed, combining proven techniques and methods in a new and relevant way.
A wide policy, research and social scope
As a follow up of all these activities, the project will develop a set of recommendations for the media, decision and policy makers as well as a scientific paper regarding innovative sustainable hybrid methodology. A primary target group is older population with special attention to be paid to subgroups such as older women, older LGBTQ+ persons, older persons with disabilities, older persons who are caregivers to others, older persons who belong to ethnic minorities, and vulnerable groups in the older population. The project will focus on involving young people who need to develop sensitivity for the challenges of older citizens, but at the same time help to make these issues visible. Older women will especially be empowered through the promotion and advancement of gender equality and non-discrimination mainstreaming through gender-balanced planned projects and incorporation of gender issues as a crossover topic in each production.
Implementation in January 2024, the project will run for 24 months. The partners on the project include: Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture Foundation (Serbia), Red Cross of Serbia (Serbia), Trupa Drž ne daj (Serbia), Teatr Brama (Poland), Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium Odin Teatret (Denmark), The University of Évora (Portugal) and Comppagnia Il Melrancio (Italy).