Positively speaking


Today is number two session of the radio art workshop “Reclaim The Waves” for seniors at Tate Britain. Last Saturday we were very busy looking at old video footage of past successes and experiments in radio art, munching fat bread sandwiches or gluten-free platters, and dashing away with the soldering iron making transmitters; Works of wonder and art.

During the week ears have been on alert to sounds of the city for that is where we live and have leant towards the Thames, home of barges and mud-larkers. One woman said that she has now an enhanced love of sound, music and poetry. Can’t doubt that. This week she’ll put her voice where her ears are as seniors collate their recorded noises and use their home-made transmitters to build the installation. It’ll concern itself and its makers with the ever-changing built environment. It’ll be art recognizing the unhappy state in which urban seniors find themselves apparently. There’s an assumption from the facilitators that all oldies are disturbed by the demise of olde worlde London for new built skyscrapers. That is incorrect.  Still it’s the latest fashion and a tool to engage seniors in engagement projects put about by arts bodies. Positively Speaking is the title….

mrs barton

Clapham Film Unit has made a film called “These Dangerous Women”. lsefor IWD woolenscraftspare rib to Patrick VernonThe Crofter Wife 250613

There’s an accompanying book in which two Up Your Street subscribers have had published inside it research work about dames from 1915 WILPF (Women’s Peace Movement). Homework done, internet over-used. A beautiful response to that was given by Barbara of Islington when she gave congratulations and praise for Up Your Street women who achieved in endeavours they chose. Smart women.

Feminists and friends have been invited to view the film, which includes seniors dressed up as Edwardian militants waving gaily at Tilbury Docks, at the end of March and I believe Boris may go and dear C Moran.

Oh yes, built environments and how seniors can interact. Two big conferences happen in March. There’s one in Canary Wharf on March 16th and another at Conway Hall on March 26th. Both are free and bookable at Eventbrite. Karen at Buildings Exploratory Islington  gave me rightly the heads up about the Conway Hall one which is hosted by Cubitt Art, Islington.

“Successful Cities, Positive Ageing

16th March 10am – 4.30pm 

Positive Ageing in London (the London regional forum on Ageing) is delighted to be working with The UK Urban Ageing Consortium who will be presenting the latest thinking on how cities and partners can collaborate to innovate on Age Friendly Cities. 

This event focuses on three important aspects of successful cities

  • The Built Environment
  • Economic Development
  • Culture and the Arts”


  • Go on. I’m listening.

We shall be exploring how nooks and crannies in London (like Fish Island?) where exist opportunities for artists to work have any relevance to an ageing population. I think I understood the blurb correctly. I asked Cubitt if a free lunch were provided and it is, and if I could have a stall for Up Your Street and there’s no space, and I bet Age UK got their foot firmly in front of the hairy hare.


“Is the aging population a ticking time bomb or an extraordinary asset?
What would our cities look like if they were designed for an aging population?
Could older people play a bigger role in public life?
Research has shown that, post-retirement, many people feel less visible in public spaces, less able to navigate the built environment, and less valued in public life.  Isolation and disconnection is a depressing reality for millions of older people whilst new developments, regeneration projects, and urban planning rarely account for the needs and capacities of the older body.

Public Wisdom 2015 is a one-day event produced by Cubitt Education <http://cubittartists.org.uk/education/>  and supported by the Baring Foundation <http://www.baringfoundation.org.uk/> , bringing together anthropologists, artists, performers, sociologists, designers and architects to explore how we can respond creatively and imaginatively to these issues through and within the arts.”

I love Conway Hall.

My ears are burning.