Creatively combating social isolation
Andrew Stuck, Founding Director of Rethinking Cities and the Museum of Walking, and producer of Talking Walking, is the winner of the 2015 Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (MICL) Scholarship Competition.
In response to the Scholarship’s proposal brief, Andrew came up with “Woof woof, Walkies!”, an innovative concept designed to reduce levels of isolation and physical inactivity experienced by older adults in the UK. There are more people collecting a pension than there are children in the UK. By 2020, it is predicted that people over the age of 50 will comprise almost a third of the working age population and almost half the adult population. In this large ageing population, the number of 55 to 64-year-olds living alone has increased by 50% in the last 15 years. 1.2 million people over 50 are classed as severely excluded from society, meaning they have very limited social contact. 400,000 of them are over 80, which puts them at particular risk. There is a similar situation in China and in the USA, where half of those aged 80 and above often feel lonely. While focus is frequently directed to the physical conditions of older people, their emotional and social well-being tends to be overlooked.
Andrew, grateful for the Scholarship and keen to commence studies on the MICL in the new academic year, said: “Mention the word ‘walkies’ to a dog, and in almost every case, their tail wags furiously in excited anticipation of outdoor activity, new things to discover and places to go. I don't have a tail but I am equally excited with the prospect of undertaking City University’s MICL - a terrific opportunity to stretch my legs and discover new things too. We can all come up with ideas, but it is the understanding of how to turn those ideas into commercial successes that makes me want to do this course. "Woof woof, Walkies!" is one such idea - a possible means to combat social isolation and physical inactivity for all of us as we grow older. I am looking forward to working with fellow creative enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and a dog or two to bring "Woof woof, Walkies!" to fruition.”
Andrew has been awarded a full scholarship for the Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (the MICL) - worth £16,500 to UK/EU winners and £24,000 to non-EU students. A small number of bursaries, worth £3,500 each, have also been offered to qualifying runners-up.
Dr Sara Jones, Senior Lecturer in Creative Interactive System Design and course director for the Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (MICL) said:
“Many thanks to all those involved in making this another successful year for the MICL scholarship competition. It was a delight this year to have previous MICL scholarship winners join us as part of the judging panel, and we are very happy that Andrew will be able to join us as a full time student in September, to develop his excellent "Woof woof, Walkies!" idea.”
Part-time places are still available on the 2015/16 MICL programme.