The Age-Friendly University Initiative (AFU) at Dublin City University (DCU) provides opportunities for older adults to engage in higher education at a multidisciplinary level. It encourages older adults to become actively involved with the university and promotes age inclusivity in higher education. The AFU concept developed by DCU has resulted in a global network of universities representing Europe, North and South America, South East Asia and Australia, who have committed to the Ten Principles of an Age-Friendly University developed by DCU. Through the programme older people can take part in educational programmes, including credit and audit modules from the undergraduate and master programmes – without the need to do exams or assignments or take a module from the customised Love of Lifelong Learning programme, as well as workshops that are part of research projects. The AFU hosts a broad variety of events that provide various social, cultural, wellness, research and educational opportunities for older people
The Age-Friendly University (AFU) concept was launched at Dublin City University in 2012 and, commits to 10 principles of an age-friendly university. Snce then the initiative has grown into a global network nurtured by DCU comprising over 120 universities. https://www.dcu.ie/agefriendly/principles-age-friendly-university
- To encourage the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programmes.
- To promote personal and career development in the second half of life and to support those who wish to pursue “second careers”.
- To recognise the range of educational needs of older adults (from those who were early school-leavers through to those who wish to pursue Master’s or PhD qualifications).
- To promote intergenerational learning to facilitate the reciprocal sharing of expertise between learners of all ages.
- To widen access to online educational opportunities for older adults to ensure a diversity of routes to participation.
- To ensure that the university’s research agenda is informed by the needs of an ageing society and to promote public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults.
- To increase the understanding of students of the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that ageing brings to our society.
- To enhance access for older adults to the university’s range of health and wellness programmes and its arts and cultural activities.
- To engage actively with the university’s own retired community.
- To ensure regular dialogue with organisations representing the interests of the ageing population.
DCU’s Age-Friendly University is hosting their annual event, the Taste of DCU, on September 1st in the Nursing building on DCU’s Glasnevin campus to showcase the broad variety of activities in the university. On the day one can take part in a variety of lectures and activities on a range of subjects, making it a great opportunity to be a student for a day, meet staff at DCU as well as other age-friendly participants. This year, there will be an opportunity to experience the newly developed Virtual Reality Lab hosted by DCU Business School. Information about the various courses and workshops on offer as well as learning how to navigate the university and register for courses will be explained. There will also be an opportunity to speak with participants from the programme to hear about their experiences from learning Spanish at the University of Murcia, to taking part in the Active for Life Programme or contributing to the research programmes. Lunch and a free raffle is included in the day and best of all it is free to attend but you must register at Eventbrite.
The AFU recently concluded the TRACEUS (Traditions, Recipes, and Cuisines using Smartphones) Project, a co-funded Erasmus+ research project which was the brainchild of DCU and involved a consortium of european stakeholders. The goal of the project was to train older adults to use their Smartphone to make videos curating their favourite recipes or traditions to an online platform where other participants could view them and try some out. The TRACEUS project created an easily accessible free training programme and provides a platfform where people can share different aspects of their cultures and cuisines. The project will also allow future generations to continue these traditions and connect with their heritage. Check out the website https://traceus.eu/ and try it out for yourself.
Another ongoing research project Culture on Prescription Europe (COPE), is a 2-year project also co-funded by Erasmus+. This project involves understanding how social prescribing is beneficial for older adults to combat isolation and lonliness through cultural programmes. The COPE project prioritises cultural activities as a way to help older people to learn new skills while also interacting with other people. As part of the programme, Artist Susan Leen led an 8-week workshop “Building Stories” which explored different printmaking techniques to tell their stories about a building. In the workshop, participants chose buildings or places that resonated with them or was significant to them and created 3 prints using different techniques, such as lino printing, monoprinting and stamp printing. They were able to choose any or all 3 techniques to work with for their prints. At the end of the workshop, participants presented their prints in an exhibition where they could share their stories with others. Read more about the COPE Project at https://culture-on-prescription.eu/ and how other partners in the consortium are contributing.
Making Your Mark workshop is part of the SHAPE (Social Health, Arts and Personal Education) research project. The project examined Japanese Notan design and threatre could be harnessed to improve mental health. The 8-week workshop was led by Dr. Michael Flannery and Dr. Una McCabe and involved using art and drama to express ideas and identities. The course involved switching between art and drama courses each week where participants could learn forms of art one week and drama the next. The medium of artwork ranged from paintings to sculptures and participants learned the process involved in theatre productions. After the course, there was an exhibition showing the participants’ artwork and the participants also had a short performance at the opening of the exhibition.
AFU participants are also involved in research projects in the Business School, the School of Nursing, School of Health and Human Performance and SALIS – the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies.
DCU’s AFU programme are accessible and affordable regardless of background or education. Best of all is that participants can take a module from the undergraduate and masters programmes without the need to undertake assignments or assessment.. Other courses on offer include a customised programme from the Love of Lifelong Learning Programme which include Spanish, Italian, Choir, Genealogy, English literature, History , Philosophy, Theology, Board Games and Botanical Art. There is also a vibrant social and cultural programme with organised visits to places of interest. Our programmes promote intergenerational engagement, liflelong learning, new friendships and challenge ageist stereotypes and practices.
Everyone is welcome to join and participate in the various programmes and workshops offered by DCU, a warm welcome awaits.
“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera (1985 Spanish, 1988 English)
DCU AFU is a founder member of the Covenant on Demographic change in Europe, we are also members of Global Coalition on on Ageing, The International Federation on Ageing, the Irish Senior Citizen Parliament, the AGE Platfor Europe, Amateo, and Fingal Age-Friendly. We contribute to informing policy at national and international level and are recognised the UN Working Group on Ageing and WHO for our work in the ageing sector and as the founders of the Age-Friendly University Global Network.
For more information, visit DCU’s Age-Friendly University website, www.dcu.ie/agefriendly.ie , or contact:
Grainne Reddy (firstname.lastname@example.org) 01 700 5454
Or email email@example.com