A University of Sydney project will explore the meaning of precious objects in the lives of socially isolated seniors in regional New South Wales.
Modelled on the Love in Objects project run in London in 2014, seniors and community members from Dapto and neighbouring suburbs in Wollongong will meet as part of the Treasured Possessions project to share the emotional value of their own keepsakes.
These include war medals and photographs, family heirlooms and cherished childhood toys.
University of Sydney researcher Dr Kimberley-Joy Knight said the eight week project, starting in early April, would also incorporate museum visits, talks from historians and curators, memoir writing and photography classes designed to encourage participants to connect with the past and with others in the community.
It will culminate in a multimedia exhibition of treasured possessions and stories open to the public.
Knight said the aim of the project was to increase the quality of life of older Australians living in Dapto, an area with a significant number of people at risk of social isolation.
“Dapto is ranked in the bottom 25 per cent of the ABS’s Socio-Economic Index for Areas, which is below the regional, state and Australian averages for disadvantage by area,” she said.
“Furthermore, 10 per cent of households in Dapto are occupied by lone older persons, (aged 65 and older), which is again above the state and national averages,” she said.
“The core aim of this project is to reduce this isolation by fostering positive emotional experiences and memories, and creating a social environment where people from different cultures and backgrounds can share their life experiences.”