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  • merrynthomas

OPTIC: Understanding Older people’s PerspecTives and Imaginaries of Climate change

I'm very excited to be leading OPTIC, a new project in the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR), working with colleagues in Swansea (Aled Singleton, Tavi Murray in Geography; Deborah Morgan, Aelwyn Williams in Health; Carol Maddock in Materials Science and Engineering) and Aberystwyth (Charles Musselwhite, Psychology).

Environments in which older people live, work and take recreation are essential to health and wellbeing. Through climate change, threats are emerging in previously hospitable environments. It is essential we understand older people’s climate change perspectives, behaviours, and future visions so that living, working and recreational environments can be shaped and managed effectively for health, wellbeing and sustainability.

To explore everyday issues with people who use these environments, both now and in the future, we will use creative methods (comic-creation, mobile interviews and video) with 50 people in five diverse environments of ageing (coastal care home, community garden, upland farming community, post-industrial town, floodplain traveller community). Older (over 65) and younger (under 25) participants will together create stories of climate change perspectives, behaviours and visions for the future, which will be re-told collectively in a bilingual, accessible visual comic. The comic will be shared as hardcopies, via a website, social media and two interactive exhibitions – on Swansea High Street and the 2023 Urdd Eisteddfod, mid-Wales. The comics will stimulate discussion in a shared learning event, where older people, policymakers, businesses, and charities will together design guidelines for environments of ageing that better address older people’s climate change perspectives and behaviours.

Understanding Older people’s PerspecTives and Imaginaries of Climate change (OPTIC): emplaced creativity to improve environments for healthy ageing is funded by the UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge as part of the Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme. I look forward to sharing more when the project gets underway!

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