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New Old: Designing for our future selves
Exhibition Dates: January 13 to April 22, 2018
Exhibition Venue: Gallery B01, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts

Supported by Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government
Organized by Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
In Partnership with British Council
Appointed Projector Sponsor: EPSON
Appointed Deformaldehyde Coating Sponsor: HOPAX
A touring exhibition from the Design Museum, London in partnership with the Helen Hamlyn Trust

Taiwan is one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. The proportion of Taiwanese adults aged 65 and over grew from 10.9 per cent of the population in 2010 to 13.6 per cent in 2017. One in five people in Taiwanese will be 65 and over by 2025. These statistics are mirrored by other countries in the region and reflect a massive social change. As societies age, what role can design and innovation play to enhance the lives of older people?

NEW OLD is an exhibition from the Design Museum in London that explores issues related to demographics and design. It has six themes: ageing, identity, home, community, working and mobility. Under each theme, six leading design studios have developed new, speculative projects to demonstrate the potential of design to help people lead fuller, healthier and more rewarding lives into old age. A world tilting away from youth and toward older people represents a major challenge for designers. But is design ready for ageing? And how can creativity reimagine the experience of the ‘new old’? These are questions that are addressed in this exhibition.

The ageing of our population reflects a profound change in the human condition. It is the result of gradual increases in life expectancy at a time of falling fertility and mortality rates. Life expectancy in Taiwan reached a record high in 2015, up to age 77 for men and 83 for women. It is predicted that 81 per cent of Taiwanese men and 92 per cent of women will live past the age of 65. So, more years are a given for most us. The question is how we will live those years. This section explores how the scale and implications of demographic change – and people’s views about age – are creating the context for designers to intervene to support an ageing society.

A steep rise in the number of older people in society has not yet changed deep-rooted negative stereotypes around ageing: the stigma of growing old persists. But the meaning of being old in the next 30 years will be quite unlike previous definitions – the new old will benefit from better healthcare, education and diet, and from changing social attitudes. For this group of new old, new narratives around active ageing will increasingly challenge a medical view of ageing as characterised by disease, decline and dependency. This section explores how perceptions are being shifted by creative new ideas in fashion, furniture, graphics, signage and communication.

In Taiwan, research suggests that three-quarters of people aged 65 over prefer living or alone or with family to living in a home for the elderly. But private homes that are poorly designed and difficult to maintain contribute to declining health in later life. uture homes will need to be safer for older people – they will also need to be adapted to support new technologies for working and caring in the home. This section looks at design for everyday living, from smart materials and sensual bathrooms to robot-assisted care.

Successful ageing depends on how well older people can interact with the wider world in their neighbourhoods and communities. Loneliness and social isolation are exacerbated in older age following retirement from work, the loss of a partner, children moving away or ill health reducing mobility. This section looks at how designers can develop the new physical and digital enablers of connectivity, helping older people to age well in their communities. It looks in particular at examples from Japan and Norway.

As the population ages, our working lives will extend beyond current retirement models. The importance of retaining the knowledge and expertise of older workers will grow, as employers face gaps in the labour market and governments struggle to fund care for a dependent elderly population. Longer working lives will not only plug skill gaps and reduce welfare bills, but can also bring health and cognitive benefits to older members of the workforce. To achieve this, the work environment will need to be designed more appropriately. Age discrimination in the workplace must be effectively countered. This section looks at design innovations that create healthier offices, so that older workers can continue to make a contribution.

Maintaining mobility is vital for an ageing population. Being able to get around is important not just for practical reason but also for social connection, identity and self-esteem. Loss of mobility has a direct impact on health and wellbeing. Those aged 70 and over travel significantly less than other age groups. Retirement to rural areas, which sometimes have poor public transport, can create mobility problems for those without access to a car. Inaccessible streets and public spaces put up further barriers. This section explores mobility solutions for the new old – from folding wheelchair wheels and assistive technology for walking, to the future of autonomous vehicles.

Date: 107.01.13- 107.04.22

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