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A Handbook for Cultural Engagement with Older Men – the Whitworth

A Handbook for Cultural Engagement with Older Men

The presence of older men within activities at the Whitworth, or lack of, has been apparent for some time. Despite being in Manchester, a city known nationally and international for its Age Friendly credentials, older men still fall into a minority within such activities at the gallery. Through conversations with fellow programmers from other cultural organisation, big and small, it became clear this was not just a problem in Manchester.

During the closure of the Whitworth in 2014, we turned our attention to addressing a traditionally under-represented audience within cultural activities, older men. On Friday the 8th of May 2015, the Whitworth played host and participated in a conference developed by MICRA exploring social isolation and older men which also saw the launch of the new publication, A Handbook for Cultural Engagement.

The project was led by Ed Watts, Engagement Manager at the Whitworth, who travelled across the UK researching older men’s participation in cultural activity.  Funded by the Baring Foundation. He launched his findings in this publication designed to provide a foundation for future programmes and methodologies when working with older men.  Drawing on activity across the UK – Burrell for Blokes (Glasgow), Men’s Shed (Rhyl), Green Candle (London), Out in the City (Manchester), Grand Gestures (Gateshead), Live and Learn project (Belfast), the publication outline key findings, including a focus on recruitment (barriers); programming and participation (what kind of activities and models of participation older men would like cultural organisations to offer) and impact (exploring the motivations and self-reported benefits for older men of engaging in cultural group activities).

The official launch took place at the MICRA event, “Isolation and Older Men: Understanding the Challenge and Developing New Services”.

Please follow the instructions on the publications page to download a free copy of the handbook.