Centre for Lifelong LearningEngage Event 2021 - Live and Online with the Age-Friendly Academy

Four years after it’s launch during Strathclyde’s Engage Week in 2017, Age-Friendly Academy (AFA) hosted another successful event on Thursday 20th May 2021.

‘Live and Online with the Age-Friendly Academy’ was the first online Engage event the AFA has hosted, meaning that delegates were no longer restricted by geography and could join the event from anywhere in Scotland or beyond!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) moved all of it’s classes for the public online in May 2020 and has delivered over 300 classes to older learners since then.  The classes provided not just a diverse range of subjects for students to continue their learning (everything from music appreciation to art, history to literature) but also aimed to recreate the ‘live classroom experience’ for students and incorporate the a crucial social element aimed at keeping people connected.

This Engage event gave CLL the chance to showcase the new opportunities that this has presented and demonstrate the enthusiasm with which an age group normally disassociated with embracing technology have adapted to this new way of learning.

Opened by Alix McDonald, Head of the Centre for Lifelong Learning and attended by over 65 delegates online, the event began with three presentations from Strathclyde researchers on a wide range of research projects currently underway at the University with a focus on ageing.

Following this, Gavin Esler, journalist, writer and broadcaster, gave a fascinating keynote speech on his own take on lifelong learning and how it has shaped his career.

Gemma Gilliland, Age-Friendly Academy Manager, then introduced an online video display of  ‘lockdown learning’ – a collage of the wide variety of  creative pieces that CLL’s very talented students had created during the past year – including short stories, poems, photographs, drawings and paintings.

Following a short break, attendees were then given the chance to take part in ‘Learning Roulette’ where they were randomly allocated to take part in a ‘taster’ session  - in either language, art, music or genealogy - and experience first-hand what an online class with CLL is like.

The event was rounded off with a fascinating talk from Dr Alexandra Mavroeidi, a Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity for Health at the University of Strathclyde, on optimal nutrition to maximise musculoskeletal health in older adults.

As demonstrated throughout the event, the AFA is all about creating a 5-95 University – a place where there is something for everyone, regardless of age or stage in life. Strathclyde’s commitment to this aim can be seen both through the opportunities for younger and older learners that it provides and through the broad range of research taking place.

The AFA brings together and showcases this activity, whilst also providing a platform from which new partnerships can be made and new initiatives launched. For more information about the AFA, please contact Gemma Gilliland on Gemma.Gilliland@strath.ac.uk.