(When we live longer), will we enjoy independence and a good quality of life? Or will we become isolated and marginalised? Will we have years full of life, or life full of years? 

Since 2015 the British Council has undertaken significant development of its ‘Arts and Ageing’ programme, which sits within a broader Arts and Inclusion strand across North East Asia (Korea, Japan, Taiwan, HK and Singapore). This agenda aims to build bridges for exchange of knowledge, network building and collaboration on the role of arts and culture in an ageing society.

According to the World Health Organization, Taiwan entered the aged society in 1993. National Development Council (NDC) of Taiwan estimates that Taiwan will enter the super aged society by 2025. Meaning, there will be one elderly person out of five. Also, according to a NDC report, the old age dependency ratio will decrease from 1 to 6.7 care-giver in 2012 to 1 to 1.3 in 2060.   Responding to this changing landscape of future, increasing numbers of social welfare organizations, museums and design collectives started to advocate for active ageing, ageing-in-place and creative ageing.  Hence, the important impact of arts and design innovation on health promotion and dementia prevention in an ageing society is gradually recognized by both the cultural and science sectors in Taiwan.  In the meantime, filial piety is one deeply-rooted value in Taiwan where inter-generational care plays a key role in the family life.  

Whether one would age with care or independently in life, good designs shall contribute to elevating the quality of well-being.  With this notion, British Council in Taiwan introduces to our audience the New Old exhibition from the Design Museum in London.  We are proud to present the Asia premier of this exhibition in partnership with Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (KMFA).  

The exhibition is organised into six sections – Ageing, Identity, Home, Community, Working and Mobility and presented with infographics, videos and physical exhibits. Participating teams include Yves Béhar /fuseproject, Konstantin Grcic, Future Facility, Special Projects, IDEO and Priestman Goode.  By sharing the new design ideas for this challenge from the UK, we hope to invite our visitors, designers, social workers and technologists to jointly envision how good design can transform the way we will live in the future. 

Exhibition and Public Programme

  • Exhibition

Dates: 13 January to 22 April, 2018

Venue: Gallery B01, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (No. 80, Meishuguan Rd, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804)   

The "New Old – Designing for our Future Selves" is a touring exhibition from the Design Museum, London in partnership with the Helen Homlyn Trust. The exhibition is organized by Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts.


  • Curator’s Talk by Jeremy Myerson 【New Old – Designing for our Future Selves】

In this presentation, Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, will discuss the key design challenges facing ageing societies and how the making of the Design Museum’s New Old exhibition explores these challenges.  In particular he will look at new design ideas for older people related to identity, community, home, working and mobility, introducing projects specially commissioned from some of the world’s leading design firms.  

Time: 14:00-16:00, 14 January, 2018

Venue: Auditorium (B1)

The talk is free of charge and pre-registration is not required. 

About the Exhibition

The exhibition is inspired by New Design for Old exhibition at Boilerhouse gallery in the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1986 by designer/now philanthropist Helen Hamlyn.  According to Helen Hamlyn, “My original exhibition was about products – the 2017 version is all about ideas.”

The term ‘new old’ refers not just to the next generation entering later life –a cohort with quite different experiences and expectations from the ‘old old’ – but also the opportunity to think afresh about designing for an ageing society.  

Reflecting recent shifts in design, these projects (in the exhibition) have largely been created by teams rather than individuals, and their focus on such themes as mobility, community, identity and work suggests a much broader canvas for age-related design interventions than the domestic environment. The design disciplines are broader too: the work on show is less object-based than it was 30 years ago – encompassing fashion, furniture, interior design, transport, service design, interaction design and experience design alongside robotics, material science and artificial intelligence (AI).

Emerging methods and techniques in a field known variously as ‘inclusive’, ‘intergenerational’ or ‘universal’ design will also exert a big influence, as governments and businesses around the world think about how to support more person-centred care with person-centred design.

The New Old (people) will experience ageing unlike any of their predecessors. They are better educated; more open to experimenting with technological possibilities and will experience a longer and more active old age. Nevertheless the familiar challenges of ageing – the need to keep people fit, active and living independently in their own homes, rather than in institutional care – do not go away. But there is a vastly increased potential to address them for the New Old at every level, from architecture to technology, from digital applications to redesigning domestic appliances.

The exhibition will focus on one of the most important political and social challenges of our times with an optimistic look at the way that design can transform the way we will live in the future.

-- Excerpts from the curator’s statement on New Old exhibition by Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design, Royal College of Art

External links