Ouderwijs / Third Age Wisdom

Sofia Chin, Gina Smit, Nienke Galjaard and myself started a collaboration project amongst Open Design. We came up with the idea of a platform called ‘Ouderwijs‘. Literally translated as ‘Third Age Wisdom’.  The concept is based on the elderly possessing a wealth of knowledge gained through time. They have seen their environment change over time, been educated differently and have worked in an generation without digital devices.

With age comes wisdom and this is something to have great respect for. Our group sees this as a valuable good so we wanted to capture and transfer this knowledge from generation to generation. By allowing the elderly to collaborate with younger people, we hope to prevent this wisdom from fading through generations. To test the concept of this platform we completed two pilot projects. One with Sofia Chin in collaboration with retired photographer Frans Marks, the second with Gina Smit in collaboration with artist Luc Souren to see how this idea would work in practice. 

Beautiful results occurred. Sofia learnt about analogue photography, and made a pinhole camera together together with Frans. Frans rekindled his enthusiasm for photography. This triggered him to purchase books on photography and is now planning to make a pinhole camera with his daughter. Sofia felt his enthusiasm and the joy of collaboration which was a rewarding experience for all.


Similar experiences were seen in the collaboration between Gina Smit and Luc Souren. Luc taught Gina how to weld with plans to create a metallic art piece together. Unfortunately due to back pains Luc was not able to weld himself, however, through instruction and team work the pair was able to complete the piece together.

Both experiences returned promising and beautiful results. The elderly rekindled their love for their former skills and thrived off the interest and energy of the younger generation whilst discouraging loneliness in a positive light. We want to collect these stories on the platform to inspire others and to capture this valuable wisdom. We hope to realise this concept in a working website or programme for the future.

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