North East Connected

Ageing experts partner with young creatives to boost skills

The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) hosted a film premiere at The Catalyst on Newcastle Helix last week, showcasing a series of short documentary films that promote the importance of intergenerational skills sharing.

Working in partnership with Newcastle-based creative film agency, Kaleidoscope, this series of films titled ‘Skills in Us’, highlights the benefits of skill sharing between generations, and how learning from older people can help keep alive heritage, as well as be beneficial to employers by teaching transferrable skills to the younger generation such as problem solving, communication and practical skills.

The premiere was followed by a discussion led by NICA, on the themes raised in each film and an exhibition which gave the audience the chance to interact with the subject of each documentary, bringing the stories to life.

Kaleidoscope employed young filmmakers from the region to create this series of five short and emotive films that focus on older residents in the North East and the stories behind their specialist skills in fishing, textiles, cookery, blacksmithing and lace making.

Professor Nicola Palmarini, Director of the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing, said:

“It is important that as a society, we recognise the importance of the ageing population and the skills they have, to the future of our planet. Innovation takes place from lots of different perspectives, and the film series aims to capture that there is so much we can harness from the experience of our older generations.

“We have a huge existing knowledge pool within our older generation, and by bridging the intergenerational gap we can not only empower young people with skills, tools and knowledge, but potentially support them into the world of work and subsequently contribute to the growth of the global economy.

“The core purpose of this exhibition was to open a diverse dialogue between generations, connect people through storytelling and show learning in a visual and empowering way.

“It’s vital that we engage with young people on this topic to help understand any barriers, contributions and links between the longevity of health and the economy.

“The insights that can be gathered from having a diverse representation of people feeding in to the future needs of markets for an ageing population, can support the innovation within businesses that is needed for the success and health of future society.”

Craig Hawkes, Founder and Creative Director of Kaleidoscope Creative Film Agency, added:

“It was important that the essence of this project ran through every aspect of it, from production right through to the exhibition. Susie Davies, a recent graduate who we employed after a successful three-month internship, lead the project which was an excellent opportunity to extend the skills sharing process, and is a tangible example of what can be achieved when generations work together and recognise value in each other.

“It was fantastic to see our young trainees thrive in the working environment, and to have the opportunity to be involved in and lead this fantastic creative project. The highlight was hearing the stories of older individuals from across the North East, and seeing the trainees bring these to life in a spectacular and inspiring way.”

NICA are based within Newcastle University on Newcastle Helix. Together with VOICE™ they have developed a novel approach to Ageing Intelligence®, which brings together data driven insight and human experiences to help bring new products, business models and services to market. This is part of their work to help facilitate a society that is better equipped to meet the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population, helping to create a world in which we can all live smarter and healthier lives.

The event aims to inspire and encourage more young people to be involved with the VOICE panel which leads dialogue with residents on what is needed for healthy ageing.

If you are interested in joining the VOICE panel email

For more information on this series of short films visit  

To view a trailer for the series visit

Follow @UKNICAofficial

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