Social Science research questions what it is to be in an ageing body through a VR exhibition

University of Birmingham research inspires a highly original immersive 360-degree VR film by British artist Lindsay Seers. The work uses the hallucinatory quality of VR technology to convey an embodied experience of what it is to be in an ageing body. Ikon Gallery, Birmingham presents Care(less) (2019) this February, bridging the gap between art and social sciences in a new and innovative form.

Care(less) (2019) is an OPCARE artist commission responding to new research by the University of Birmingham , University of Brighton and University of Lincoln , supported by the Wellcome Trust Enrichment Fund, into the experiences of older people receiving care they pay for themselves. In dissecting the infrastructures that are failing those needing to be cared for, the work is informed by individual case studies and aims to expand public conversation about the value of care. In the UK and across most of Europe, people are living longer and older people increasingly make up a greater proportion of our population. Despite this ageism is a commonly experienced form of prejudice and discrimination.

Dr Denise Tanner, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Birmingham comments: “Older people are often presented as a ‘burden’ on limited health and social care resources, ‘blocking’ hospital beds and draining the resources of younger generations. But we all need care from others at certain times and the balance between us being givers or receivers of care shifts at different points in our lives. Many of us manage our own fear of being old by keeping it at a distance. Care(less) helps bring the experience of needing care closer to home, and thus helps us to understand that needing support from others and being willing to give it is part of what connects us as people. It is not something to be abhorred or avoided, but to be valued and celebrated as part of human experience.’

Care(less) was exhibited for the first time at Fabrica gallery, Brighton (5 October - 24 November 2019) and is part of an ongoing exploration around the ethics of care in partnership with Fabrica and Frequency Festival.

Care(less) opens Saturday 15 - Sunday 23 February (closed Monday 17 February), the VR experience lasts for 20 minutes and has limited capacity. The Artist’s talk requires booking for Saturday 15 February, 6-7pm. Lindsay Seers and George Vasey, Curator at Wellcome Collection, discuss Seers’ installation Care(less).

Dr Denise Tanner, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham, will introduce the Artist’s talk event. Denise is Research Lead for Solihull site of the Older People: Care and Self-funding Experiences (OPCARE) project.


This site uses cookies and analysis tools to improve the usability of the site. More information. |