Wisdom Beyond Age


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  Press  release     17th  November  2014     Connecting   generations   through   use   of   digital   media   can   provide   solutions   to   youth   unemployment  and  promote  active  ageing,  says  social  entrepreneur     The  UK  is  currently  faced  with  both  a  youth  unemployment  crisis  and  an  ageing  population.  Additionally,   small   and   medium-­‐sized   businesses   (SMEs),   which   account   for   99.9%   of   all   business   in   the   UK,   are   reluctant  to  recruit  young  people  or  recent  graduates.*     Social   entrepreneur   and   founder   of   Big   Bang   Lab,   Sergio   López   Figueroa,   believes   that   linking   up   the   generations  via  use  of  digital  media  and  music  is  one  solution  for  helping  young  people  into  work  and   older  people  to  remain  active  participants  in  their  communities.  He  also  believes  SMEs  have  a  vital  role   to  play  in  this.     Sergio   López   Figueroa   explains:   “Our   society   has   moved   from   an   industrial   economy   to   a   knowledge   society  in  a  hyper-­‐connected,  digital  world.  This  has  an  enormous  impact  on  future  jobs.  Young  people   are  currently  struggling  to  get  into  work,  employers  are  reluctant  to  recruit  them  and  older  people  want   to   stay   active   or   even   remain   in   work   beyond   65.   SMEs   and   social   enterprises   have   the   ability   –   and   perhaps   the   flexibility   that   large   corporates   don’t   –   to   think   outside   the   box   and   create   innovative   solutions   that   provide   jobs   and   experience   for   young   people,   while   also   allowing   older   people   to   contribute.     “Creating   opportunities   for   older   people   and   young   people   to   interact   as   co-­‐workers   and   co-­‐learners   within   small   organisations   would   help   SMEs   to   grow,   cut   the   barrier   of   accessibility   to   jobs   through   lack   of  experience,  and  ultimately  combine  together  aspirations  with  life  experience  in  the  workplace.       “I   question   why   the   idea   of   an   intergenerational   shared   economy   –   where   young   and   old   work   together   for   the   benefit   of   both   –   is   the   biggest   blind   spot   of   current   political   debate.   Many   organisations   are   working  with  young  people  and  many  with  older  people,  but  who  is  linking  them  up?”       The   nature   of   work   is   changing.   Sergio   believes   that   the   answer   should   come   by   focusing   not   only   on   personal   development,   mentoring   or   apprenticeships   alone   but   also   by   developing   further   collective   competences.  For  example,  competitive  creativity,  where  the  contribution  of  the  individual  to  the  whole   will   allow   people   to   collaborate,   create   and   lead   more   effectively   by   aligning   their   heads,   heart   and   hands  with  the  company  they  will  be  working  for,  becoming  true  entrepreneurial  employees.       Sergio  continues:  “These  traits  are  not  taught  at  schools  or  universities,  yet  they  are  particularly  needed   in  social  enterprises  such  as  Big  Bang  Lab,  where  we  are  looking  at  growth  and  talent  investment.  My   plan  is  to  create  social  impact  by  connecting  privileged  and  educated  young  and  older  people  with  those   from   less   advantaged   backgrounds   from   across   social   and   age   boundaries.   This   will   help   create   responsible  citizens,  regardless  of  the  industry  a  business  operates  in.”     Digital  participation   Big  Bang  Lab  has  been  linking  young  and  old  since  its  inception  in  2008,  using  digital  media  and  music  to   link  up  communities  and  give  them  a  voice.  Sergio  founded  Big  Bang  Lab  to  encourage  intergenerational   engagement   and   digital   participation.   He   could   see   the   power   of   participatory   media   in   creating   and   building  communities.    


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    In  2012  -­‐  the  European  Year  of  Active  Ageing  and  Solidarity  between  Generations    -­‐  Sergio  designed  and   delivered  the  first  attempt  to  create  an  intergenerational  community  development  model,  with  Creative   Generation   (www.creative-­‐generation.org.uk).   This   project   was   the   first   to   apply   intergenerational   media   skills   to   create   collective   assets   involving   residents   in   social   housing   and   providing   true   and   genuine  stories,  so  people  were  empowered  to  learn  from  each  other.     As   a   musician   and   composer,   Sergio   knows   only   too   well   the   power   of   music   as   a   mechanism   for   transforming   and   training.   Sourced   through   crowdfunding,   Sergio   aims   to   set   up   the   world’s   first   ever   intergenerational   orchestra,   ONE   (Orchestra   of   No   Age),   designed   to   explore   emotional   intelligence   and   wisdom,  where  every  member  of  the  orchestra  becomes  the  conductor,  composer  and  communicator  of   the   new   vision.   Eventually   the   orchestra   will   become   a   vehicle   of   new   music   and   a   platform   for   work   opportunities  for  composers  around  the  world.         A  crowdversation®  on  future  jobs  and  active  ageing   As  part  of  Global  Entrepreneurship  Week  (17-­‐23  Nov),  Big  Bang  Lab  has  organised  an  event  in  London  on   21st   November,  thanks   to  a   grant  from  Santander’s   Spark  Award.   This   is   a   unique   opportunity   for   young   and  older  people  alike  to  spark  the  debate  and  talk  about  what  they  know,  feel  and  think  about  future   jobs  and  staying  active  in  old  age.       The  event  starts  with  a  screening  of  Dustin  Hoffman’s  Quartet  (2012),  which  touches  on  the  themes  of   active   ageing   and   creative   collaboration.   This   will   be   followed   by   Big   Bang   Lab’s   crowdversation®,   an   interactive   Q&A   where   the   audience   get   involved.   The   results   will   then   be   published   online   after   the   event.  For  more  information  on  the  event,  visit:  http://wisdombeyondage.eventbrite.co.uk     Case  study   Alex   James,   a   student   at   Ravensbourne   College,   who   was   involved   in   the   Creative   Generation   project,   says:     “The  experience  I  gained  as  part  of  the  Creative  Generation  project  helped  me  to  think  about  interview   techniques,   editing   and   the   use   of   video   media   to   capture   the   everyday   issues   faced   by   older   and   younger   people,   and   how   this   could   empower   communities   to   understand   each   other   better.   It   made   me   understand   that   media   can   be   more   than   just   a   reporting   tool,   but   also   a   tool   for   change.       “I  was  able  to  use  the  feedback  I  got  from  both  the  older  residents  and  the  Big  Bang  Lab  team  to  change   my   own   attitude   and   motivation.   As   a   result   I   was   able   to   produce   a   good   portfolio   of   work   that   helped   me  gain  a  place  at  Ravensbourne  College.  As  a  young  man  on  the  Autistic  Spectrum,  my  job  prospects   weren't   looking   good   as   I   present   in   a   very   reserved   manner   and   can   be   easily   under-­‐estimated;   gaining   a   place   on   the   course   made   me   feel   positive   about   my   future   and   I   am   determined   to   succeed   as   a   camera  operator  in  either  TV  or  film.”     Ends   Press  enquiries:  Sergio  López  Figueroa              


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    Notes  to  editors   • Big  Bang  Lab  is  a  leading  cultural-­‐social  enterprise  based  in  London,  which  uses  music  and  media  as   a   catalyst   for   social   change   across   local   and   global   communities.   Founded   in   2008   by   Spanish   composer   and   cultural   entrepreneur,   Sergio   López   Figueroa,   they   provide   intergenerational   education  to  increase  employability  and  encourage  young  and  older  people  to  actively  participate   in  society.  www.bigbang-­‐lab.com     • Crowdversations®   are   a   design   consultancy   and   participatory   research   service   produced   by   Big   Bang  Lab  to  collect  data  and  insights  using  interactive  video,  audio  and  crowdsourcing  methods  to   produce   digital   content   for   web   and   social   media.   Crowdversations®   help   organisations   create   change   and   foster   innovation   that   makes   a   real   difference,   enabling   more   genuine   interaction   between  organisations  and  users.  See  http://goo.gl/yphmTl  for  more  information.       *Stats  &  references     • Nearly   1   million   young   people   aged   16-­‐24   are   currently   not   in   education,   employment   or   training   (NEET)  [13.3%  of  this  age  group]:  http://tinyurl.com/p35qmv4     • People  are  living  longer  and  23%  of  the  UK  will  be  aged  65  and  over  by  2035  (from  Older  Peoples   Day  website)     • Lord  Filkin’s  report  on  ageing  sets  out  the  issues  an  ageing  society  will  bring,  including  many  more   people  needing  or  wanting  to  work  beyond  the  age  of  65.  He  urges  Government  to  act  now  and  calls   for  all  parties  to  include  solutions  in  their  manifestos.     • Only  1  in  5  SMEs  is  prepared  to  recruit  apprentices  or  graduates,  according  to  the  5%  club     • 45%  of  graduates  are  more  interested  in  working  for  big  businesses.         Big  Bang  Lab  projects  and  links:   • Unseen  Voices  –  in  2008  Sergio  was  commissioned  by  Brent  Council  to  provide  an  outreach  project   for   the   Holocaust   Memorial.   He   won   an   European   Media   and   Learning   award   for   a   project   involving   a   local   authority,   school   and   local   organisations   in   London   such   as   museums   and   archives:   http://www.medea-­‐awards.com/showcase/unseen-­‐voices.       • Listen:   A   Soundtrack   of   Shared   Memories:   http://vimeo.com/channels/csr/14550998   -­‐   a   Big   Bang   Lab   production   for   the   Canary   Wharf   Film   Festival   2009,   which   featured   on   ITV   London   Tonight.   The   project   was   developed   to   provide   a   learning   exchange   between   communities,   laying   down   a   foundation  for  engagement  and  heritage  participation.  Playing  on  the  themes  of  picture,  sound,  and   memories,  the  group  worked  together  to  record  oral  histories,  understand  sound  editing  and  create   a  living  soundtrack  to  silent  film  from  the  extensive  Port  of  London  Authority’s  archive.     • Sergio   is   participating   in   this   year’s   Medea   conference   on   Thursday   20   November   http://www.media-­‐and-­‐learning.eu/programme,  where  he’ll  be  speaking  on  A  Soundtrack  of  Shared   Memories.    


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  •     Delhi   City   Symphony   -­‐   http://vimeo.com/29030525   in   2009   Sergio   was   selected   for   a   cultural   leadership   programme   funded   by   the   British   Council,   for   which   he   delivered   the   Delhi   City   Symphony.   This   was   a   unique   project   in   New   Delhi   working   with   street   children,   a   number   of   diverse   organisations   and   digital   film   archives   to   tell   the   stories   of   the   past   and   future   simultaneously,  in  a  simple  form  of  silent  digital  film  and  live  music.     Global   City   Symphony   -­‐   in   2013,   the   project   Global   City   Symphony   was   shortlisted   by   BMW   and   United   Nations   of   Civilisations   (UNAOC)   for   the   Intercultural   Innovation   award,   competing   against  700  projects  from  100  countries.     ONE  (Orchestra  of  No  Age):  please  see  video  link:  http://vimeo.com/73043222     • •     • • •   Community  Online  Video  Channel:  http://www.vimeo.com/channels/sharedvoices   Vimeo  channel:  www.vimeo.com/bigbanglab     Background  on  Sergio:  https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bigbanglab      



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