S.T.Age – Socio-drama, Tackling Ageism, preventing abuse

The Gaiety School of Acting, The National Theatre School of Ireland (Outreach Department) and Age Action Ireland are delighted to announce Socio-drama Tackling Ageism and Preventing abuse, a new two-year partnership project that runs from 2015 to 2017 with three other European partners from Finland, Romania and Italy.

The project aims to design and provide high quality learning opportunities tailored to the needs of specific adult target groups, the elderly, their family and friends and formal carers, particularly targeting those in long term care units and/or attending day centres. The opportunities for the elderly dependent on others for care to participate in life long learning opportunities are limited, both at a micro and macro level. Barriers to the individual’s participation are socially constructed, hence how a society thinks about and views older people determines their opportunity for participation.

Ageism is deeply rooted within society, with the dominant attitude towards the elderly seen as a time of decline, without a future or any aspirations. Older adults with dependency are viewed as passive recipients of care. Confronting ageism is central to addressing elder abuse. It is difficult for national care standards, which are in place in most countries, to address structures and attitudes that construct older adults as passive recipients of care. Formal carers, often from a different generation, work within prevailing social norms. The objectives of this project is to address these knowledge gaps, by using innovative methods and ways of outreach and delivery, to provide both older people and formal carers with new learning opportunities.

For the elderly, the education module will be based on empowering older adults through awareness of their human rights and ways of safeguarding their well-being. For formal carers, the training will be based on Biggs’ concept of generational intelligence, the ability to understand the ‘age other’ and put yourself in their shoes.

The methodology used to delivery education programme will adopt a socio-drama approach, a highly motivating,multi-sensory and active tool. Maley (2005) listed many points supporting the use of drama: it integrates verbal and non verbal aspects of communication, thus bringing together both mind and body, and restoring the balance between physical and intellectual aspects of learning; it draws upon both cognitive and effective domains, thus restoring the importance of feeling as well as thinking; it fosters self-awareness (and awareness of others), self-esteem and confidence; and through this, motivation is likewise fostered and sustained through the variety and sense of expectancy generated by the activities. The project will create 4 experiential workshops targeted at older adults, their families,friends, formal carers and care centre management and professionals. In these workshop, participants will examine, explore, resolve, and reflect upon the issue of elder abuse within context of human rights and generational intelligence.

The innovative methods will contribute to the development of skills that transverse generations, enhancing both care giver and receivers experience of care.

The project will also address the priority developing adult educators’ competences through the delivery of a ‘train the trainer’ programme for staff of the partner organisations and other relevant stakeholders including adult educators in the field of drama and health and social care. The participants will learn new skills in the area of socio-drama as a medium in addressing the often taboo topic of elder abuse and in this way increase their competences. With these skills, participants will have the confidence and knowledge to deliver the ‘Respect to Prevent’ workshops to care centres in all partner countries. There will be local / national events targeting adult educators and aimed to share good practices and experiences. Furthermore the Handbook proposed, which will be available as a download, will provide step by step guide on delivering the education programme, thus enhancing and developing new skills for adult educators throughout Europe and beyond.

Addressing the priority, developing basic and transversal skills using innovative methods, will also be part of the project. The innovative method proposed crosses into the area of health and social care, elder abuse prevention and awareness raising and the field of drama. It engenders the sharing of basic skills in all of these areas between professionals and stakeholders. Two of the partners (Habilitas, Anziani e Non Solo) are accredited providers of training for formal carers and they will explore how they can incorporate the proposed project into their training modules. The other partners will strive to have the education programme incorporated into certified VET courses linked to health and social care training.

The programme is developed and implemented by The Gaiety School of Acting’s Outreach Coordinator Anna Kadzik-Bartoszewska and tutors Kate Canning and Seamus Quinn. Visit the programme website here.



Tel: (01) 6799277 ext: 14