Interview with Elizabeth Arifien, Creative Dance London
This article was written by Katie Hagan and originally featured in Dance Art Journal.
Elizabeth Arifien founder and creative director of Creative Dance London is on a mission to change the perceptions of adult dance. In our culture of comparison, adult classes have long been seen as somewhat secondary to professional dance, a skewed depiction given the styles’ values and objectives exist on totally different spheres that shouldn’t really be brought into juxtaposition.
To reclaim adult dance, Creative Dance London has cultivated a balmy oasis of intergenerational and 60+ improvisation-based contemporary dance workshops and classes; no mean feat given the past year has been marked by disconnection and isolation. Katie from DAJ chatted with Elizabeth earlier this month to find out more about Creative Dance London and its hopes for the future.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is just one of many museums and cultural organisations in the UK working with older people to support lifelong learning. Together, they offer cultural activities, each unique to the communities they serve, locality and the historic and modern artefacts that they hold in their collections.
Since 2016 from its London base, the RIBA has grown its outreach activities and it works with older people, both individuals and community groups such as the Ransackers. This work uses architecture to reduce social isolation, break down digital barriers and support older people wanting to stay active and learn new skills. How has it done this? Firstly, by opening up its HQ building, exhibitions and library to enable everyone to learn about architecture for free. Back in May 2017, the RIBA team had the pleasure to spend time with the Ransackers when they visited for a guided tour of its building and architecture exhibitions.
The second was to welcome people by supporting their visits through engaging and free educational and creative art activities, such as drawing on iPads and model making, all with experienced RIBA staff. Uniquely, all visits and activities are inspired by architecture, whether that’s through the built environment in general, the RIBA’s own building or its collection of four million architectural books, models, photographs and drawings. The feedback received is that a visit to the RIBA is a positive and welcoming experience which offers participants a chance to overcome digital barriers in a supportive and social environment, and above all it was enjoyable for everyone involved – both staff and visitors.