Older Women Rock!
I am an old age, all age woman,
no way past my use-by date.
Walking in ancestral sisters’ footsteps,
I am an archive on legs,
a time traveller, alive to life,
I embody time, provide testimony,
a radical, lyrical, womanist legacy
Women’s blood memory speaks in me
a found poem by Leah Thorn, created after reading ‘Out of Time’ by Lynne Segal and ‘How to Age’ by Anne Karpf
Older Women Rock! creates pop-up art spaces in which to raise awareness and explore issues facing women in our 60s and 70s. The project challenges our invisibility by placing us centre stage on our own terms; unites us across differences of class, race and sexual identity; strengthens our resilience and our networks as we age; and challenges society's assumptions and prejudices about us.
As part of a Leverhulme Trust residency at the University of Kent and a Visiting Fellowship at Keele University, I led workshops with women in their late 50s to early 70s in a range of settings including a Zumba Gold class; two women’s prisons; an Age UK Older LGBTQ project; a group for daughters of Holocaust survivors; and a Women’s Institute.
Through discussion and the creation of individual and group poems we explored issues like
the lack of older women in the media and the misrepresentation of us as a stereotype or joke
the huge profits made from ‘anti-ageing’ products
poverty and the fact that many women have small State pensions because of low-paid work and/or breaks in employment to raise children or to care for ageing parents
In collaboration with older women textile artists, poetry and messages have been embroidered, burned, printed, beaded, engraved and spray-painted onto charity-sourced clothing.