Action for Age
Designing a better future
Action for Age looks at the role of design in addressing some of the complex challenges, and the exciting opportunities, presented by an ageing population.

Falling birthrates, coupled with increased life expectancy due to general improvements in health have resulted in a growing percentage of elderly people. Isolation, loneliness, neglect and the breakdown of support networks amongst older people are emerging as some of the major issues facing society today.

An original project by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and commerce developed in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon/London) and ExperimentaDesign in Portugal, Action for Age responds to this scenario. It consists of a creative lab operating simultaneously on two fronts – in Lisbon and London – involving university students, who in this way profit from an exceptional educational experience. In the UK, two senior British designers coordinate an R&D lab with 6 students for one year. In Lisbon, two senior Portuguese designers will coordinate the work of 6 students during an intense 6-day workshop, taking place in July, at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Their common challenge is to design new user-centred, meaningful services or solutions that improve their elderly users’ quality of life as well as integration and social cohesion.

In September, Lisbon is to host a second workshop that brings together all participants from both teams, the teams of coordinators and a panel of social workers and representatives from charitable institutions. The Biennale will introduce the project’s results during a conference to be held during the Opening Week.

The format of the designed solution is flexible: it could be a service, a network, an environment, a piece of communication, an event, a new role, or it might take elements from several of these. The aim is to design coherent solutions that address the needs of their intended users and lead to their greater integration into the community while promoting active participation and improve their general wellbeing.

Action for Age seeks to realize fully design’s potential as a tool for reconfiguring our material and relational context by devising adequate responses for to new challenges and demands in contemporary society.

LECTURE | 12.09.09 | 18:00-19:00
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Auditório 2

EXHIBITION | 05.10.09 - 08.11.09
Lounging Space

STORY TELLERS | 11, 17, 18 OCT 09 | 12:00-13:00
Lounging Space

ACTION FOR AGE: DEBATE | 18.10.09 | 15:00-17:00
Lounging Space


Free entrance

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Avenida de Berna 45A
1067-001 Lisboa

T +351 217 823 000

Metro: S. Sebastião, Praça de Espanha
Bus: 16, 726, 56, 718, 742

further reading —
Action for Age Booklet

coordination —
Alice Osborne (GB)
Deborah Srebeko (GB)
Paul Thurston (GB)
Susana António (PT)
Rita Filipe (PT)

participants —
Caroline Forte + Lucy Peers (GB)
Dimitri Merakli (GB)
Katy Shields (GB)
Rachel Deller (GB)
Sabrina Koelbl (GB)
Vincenzo di Maria (GB)
Ayda Anlagan + Pu Tai (GB)

Ana Fatia (PT)
Ana Relvão (PT)
Anjoom Satar (PT)
Gonçalo Gomes (PT)
João Santos (PT)
Ricardo Roque (PT)

collaboration —
Ana Coimbra (PT)
Maria de Lurdes Machado (PT)

an initiative and original brief by —
Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

co-production —
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian