I started doing Engages All Ages in Belsize Community Library in 2019. I came up with the idea when I got upset because I went to an art show where there were a lot of young people and I got rejected and I felt it was because of ageism. With Engages All Ages we hold outside poetry events and put on demonstrations to raise awareness about ageism.
My passion for this project has grown even more since the lockdown happened. I tried out my new Engages All Ages demonstration in Charing Cross in September 2020. I was standing there for three hours and I got no response because I felt the subject at the time was not a big deal for people. I called my friend to join me and there were only the two of us demonstrating. Another time I did an Engages All Ages demonstration I was holding a banner in April 2021 and I experimented handing out origami with a message and people were not interested in the message.
I found out that in popular demonstrations people risk getting arrested by blocking the traffic or doing things like gluing themselves to things because that is how people take notice. I discovered that hash-tagging on social media is a very powerful way to spread a message. There are horrible stories of demonstrators being egged, spat at, and having drinks thrown at them when people disagree with their causes. People often say that disability rights don’t get much attention and other protests, like the ones you hear on the news, get much more.
I believe that Instagram, more than Facebook and Twitter, is a very powerful way to spread awareness. The Guardian newspaper often covers stories about ageism. I feel that the UK is one of the worst countries for ageism. In the future I hope you will see Engages All Ages more frequently such as once a month.
I’ve done some art work on the theme of engaging with people of all ages. Take a look here. My art work is on sale at a 50% discount until 10th July: oliveryuchan.tumblr.com