National photography exhibition challenges stereotypes of the elderly

A national photography exhibition, currently touring the country, challenges stereotypes of older generations as part of a project dedicated to involving the elderly in designing technological solutions to problems associated with ageing.

The exhibition will tour the four parliaments of the United Kingdom, showcasing winning images from a nationwide competition run by KT EQUAL, a dedicated project which aims to increase the knowledge transfer of research with a focus on assisted technology in a community setting.

The competition, titled ‘Left to our own devices’, was led by the University of Bath, through KT EQUAL, in partnership with Age UK.

The competition ran from October 2011 to January 2012 and attracted hundreds of entries from both amateur and professional photographers.

A panel of expert judges selected 12 winning images; not just for their photographic merit but for the way they challenged stereotypes of older people’s experiences of technology.

Professor Chris Eccleston, from the University of Bath’s Department for Health, said: "This competition shows how interested older people are in technology and how creative and innovative solutions can be invented to help designers produce better solutions."

Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research at Age UK, said: "This competition is valuable because it highlights the potential of technology in this fast moving world to enhance the lives of older people. It also shows that technological solutions can be life changing even when they are very simple."

The exhibition is touring the country having already visited Stormont, Holyrood and the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff and will be reach Westminster next week (18 June).

The winning images are grouped in four categories, each commenting on a particular area of experience:

• Gadgets and Gizmos: Do today’s devices work for older people? Do they live up to their promise?
• In the Home: How can technology help with the challenges of daily life? Does it help fight loneliness and isolation – or does it perpetuate it?
• Out and About: Can technology help older people to maintain independence for longer?
• An open category

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