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Brisbane studio redefines conversation on ageism

Brisbane creative studio, The Ageing Revolution is changing the way older people are perceived through its range of workshops, apps and virtual reality experiences.

Launched in 2015 by Simon Lowe and Leonie Sanderson, The Ageing Revolution has worked with the Queensland Government on an app for carers and most recently on supporting older people during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The whole idea of The Ageing Revolution was to look at ageism, and how we can change the conversation to a more positive one,” co-founder and director, Simon said.

“Our ethos from the beginning has been about co-designing solutions alongside people with lived experiences.

“It initially started with workshop tours around Australia, and we’ve now evolved into technological support for older people, as well as apps and games to raise awareness of the ageing process to the wider community.”

The Ageing Revolution's founders, Simon Lowe and Leonie Sanderson

In partnership with SAE, audio, animation, games, and design students have built many of the app and virtual reality (VR) experiences that the studio develops.

“We started doing unconscious bias training for Brisbane City Council using VR, and wanted to work with SAE students on it.”

“It’s great, because all the students come with a unique knowledge; whether it’s coding, audio engineering, animation or graphic design - they bring added value, and a skillset to the workplace that we otherwise wouldn’t have had.” - Simon Lowe

As part of Simon’s partnership with SAE Brisbane, he mentors students, providing them with valuable skills for the workplace.

“I teach them how to set up a business. In addition, I give them the tools needed to sell a product, manage a budget, and invoice customers.

“Using my broad knowledge, I share how to bring together a product and in addition have been able to impart my life knowledge from the industry to give students a rounded experience of what it’s like to work in a diverse organisation.”

Over the last four years Simon has worked with 30 SAE students on placement, with at least 10 of those students gaining paid work. These have ranged from game designers and sound engineers, to animators and graphic designers, one of which included Bachelor of Games Development grad, Brendan Mooney, who now works as a senior creator at the studio.

“After graduating I started to work on a casual basis and now I’m working around 25 hours a week. I’ve recently been working on a mobile app that’s in development, and I’m responsible for coordinating the audio engineers and animators.”

Brendan commented that in addition to ageism, The Ageing Revolution is exploring ways in which they can open up the conversation around people of all abilities, genders and cultural backgrounds.

“We’re in a time now where we need to think more carefully about the abilities and skills people have, and not judge them based on their gender or if they have a disability.

“Going to SAE completely opened my eyes to the diverse society we live in, and the importance of having those conversations so everyone is treated fairly and equally.” - Brendan Mooney

Simon noted that Australia has one of the longest life expectancies in the world, making awareness and respect for older generations within our communities an even higher priority.

“Those 65 and over account for $39 billion in unpaid and voluntary work, so they make a huge sacrifice and contribution to our community. I hope we can continue to make a small change in how that demographic is perceived.”

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