Seeing timeless rebels

Challenge people’s perspective of ageing



“Falling for old stereotypes, that would be my fear, I want to be different then all the other oldies, no offense”
— Participant, age 14

Ageism is a complex social phenomenon that is ignoring older people’s personal growth and contributions within society, which can lead to physiological and psychological concerns (World Health Organization, 2015:11). Within the context of an increased ageing population in the Highlands of Scotland, senior services are reshaping, redesigning and innovating their strategies in order to contribute to people’s health and wellbeing. The misrepresentation of older people in everyday visual media e.g. advertisements, only reinforces the inequalities between different social groups. Therefore, this research set out to challenge people’s perceived image of ageing through an intergenerational and participatory process.


The aim of this study is to have a better understanding of people’s experience of ageing and their perceived image of older people. The study explores the development of practical recommendations informed by the lived experiences of adolescents (age 14) and older people (age 80+) to improve the visual representation of older people in Scotland. Furthermore, this study shares key insights about the participatory research process using physical tools. The results are a set of recommendations for organizations who values to reduce the stigma around ageing by representing a more divers and accurate voice of growing older in Scotland. 


The fieldwork is divided in three phases situated in Forres because of the high proportion of older people, particularly people with the age of 85 and over, and a reducing younger population. The first phase supported me to create a contextual understanding of people’s perspectives of ageing and consisted of pop-up engagements and interviews with professionals. The second phase was focused on developing appropriate design tools by doing a questionnaire about people’s subjective experience of ageing and an informal interview to test the interview questions. The initial data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews with three older people (age 80, 81 and 83) and two adolescents (both age 14). Furthermore, a participatory workshop was organised where both age groups came together to share their thoughts and ideas about the visual representation of older people.


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For more information about this project please contact:

Yoni Lefevre |