8 years ago I was invited to take part in a consultation to prepare for the Women Of the World Festival to take place at the London South Bank.
The old woman was absent from this festival.
I did peruse the programme over the years but did not find anything for me)
3 years ago some feminist I know complained online that the WoW festival was rather ageist. ‘Apart from a few ‘old performers’ old women were not represented’.
This year by accident I came across Nawal El Sadawi in a conversation event and rushed to buy a ticket assuming that it was part of the WoW festival. I was so delighted to see that at long last old feminist women were present at WoW and ageing a subject worth including in the festival.
But then I investigated the details of the event and found the press release below.
Southbank Centre today announces (B)old, a brand new festival celebrating age and creativity, supported by The Baring Foundation. Championing new and established artists aged 65 years and over, (B)old features a week of vibrant programming from Monday 14 – Sunday 20 May 2018 taking place across Southbank Centre’s 17 acre site including the newly reopened Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.
(B)old explores and challenges cultural perspectives of age and the role it plays in arts and society, as well as the impact of creating and experiencing art at a later age. The new festival offers something for all ages and showcases work from artists across dance, music, theatre, visual art and literature. The programme features free events and activities, and an array of engaging workshops, talks and debates bringing the idea of ‘age’ into discussion.
What do I think about this? I investigated further. On the one hand I was pleased to have the opportunity of hearing again El Saadawi on the other hand I was perturbed.
Why is it that the word ‘old’ has to be qualified: (B)old? I do not think that bold applies to this festival. There is an enormous literature and reports about Arts as an important part of the lives of older people. Famous performers are in the limelight but where is the support for all the dedicated artists who volunteer in care homes, in therapeutic environments?
Funders: The Baring Foundation whose aim is to give grants to tackle disadvantage and discrimination.
From my point of view so near to the WoW festival all I can do is quote norman lebrecht
April 5, 2018
“As someone who is over 65, I find this ghettoisation of old age both gruesome and patronising.”
As someone over 83 and so near the WoW festival I completely agree with him.
Should we forget intergenerational contacts in Art? Should we forget the gender gap in the arts as everywhere else ?