Flesh after fifty

Changing images of older women in Art

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Flesh after Fifty Doco

Insights into project changing the narrative around women’s ageing 

Speaking with the artists and members of the project team, this short documentary tells the story behind the art.

Led by CRE chief investigator, Professor Martha Hickey, Flesh after Fifty challenges negative stereotypes of aging while celebrating and promoting positive images of older women through art. Flesh after Fifty put a spotlight on notable images and commissioned 10 new art installations that explored social issues, health and empowerment of older women. To find out more about the Flesh after Fifty project and get to know the Australian artists that turned this ambitious vision into reality visit the project website.

Professor Hickey reflects on the conversation that inspired the idea of normalising menopause and promoting the idea that older women can also be healthy and beautiful, an idea that eventuated into the Flesh after Fifty project. 

As part of the project, a series of public events were held at the Abbotsford Convent’s Magdalen Laundry, where fallen women were sent to work for their lives. Contrary to the convent’s history, the sessions explored new narratives through discussions about the representation of older women across different areas within the community. Supported by the CRE, these videos showcase key points from each presentation.  Watch talks related to My Body, My Safety, My Menopause, My Mind, and My COVID below. 

My Body

As we age our bodies naturally change. Can we grow old and increase our self-esteem and confidence? Understanding our ageing bodies is just part of the journey – celebrating the positives builds good health. Chaired by Fiona Patten (Member of the Victorian Legislative Council), with CEO Women’s Health Victoria Dianne Hill, CEO Eating Disorders Victoria Belinda Caldwell and Transgender Victoria Committee Member Michelle McNamara.

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My Safety

Feeling safe from physical, verbal and emotional abuse is a right not a privilege. Creating awareness of the issues and empowering women to recognise, act and support others is the key. Chaired by CEO Safe Steps Family Violence Rita Butera with Prof. Kelsey Hegarty (joint Chair in Family Violence Prevention at the University of Melbourne) and Sally Goldner, co-founder Transgender Victoria.

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My Menopause

Menopause can create some of the biggest challenges for women, hot flushes, dry vagina, mood swings, HRT and more push us to evaluate our health in ways we didn’t see coming. Understanding the issues and getting good advice is key to winning this battle. Chaired by Prof. Martha Hickey (University of Melbourne) with Prof. Gavin Jack (Monash University) and Dr Kate Johnston-Ataata (RMIT University).

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My Mind

Healthy mind – healthy body. Keeping our minds strong, fit and flexible will not only assist us to stay engaged with the world but help us to deal with personal challenges. Chaired by Prof. Jayashri Kulkarni (Monash University) with Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Anne Unkenstein and Prof. Cassandra Szoeke (Director Women’s Healthy Ageing Project, University of Melbourne).

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My COVID

After a year of lockdowns, social isolation, fear and on-going concerns – we have been forever changed. What impacts are we dealing with and how do we repair ourselves and our community. Chaired by Dr Karin Hammarberg Senior Research Fellow, Global and Women’s Health, Monash University with guest speaker Professor Jane Fisher.

Watch the full video