Ageism and the Invisibility of Older Age: A Study of Individual Perceptions of Age Characteristics in the Context of Scottish Film Festival Volunteer Management
Framed by an interdisciplinary literature review, the purpose of this paper is to provide a first insight into the overlooked variable of age within diversification processes in the context of the workforce of the UK cultural sector, specifically volunteer management. For the purpose of this, qualitative analysis of face-to-face interviews and an online questionnaire are employed. Hypothesised invisibility of ageism and age in the arts and cultural sector is explored through individuals’ beliefs and perspectives. Based within a constructivist paradigm applying thematic analysis, temporalisation and stereotypical construction of older age – with cursory treatment of younger age – and the malleability of such construction in individuals are conceptualised. Possible tensions between perceived characteristics of older people and advantages of older volunteers are explored and invisible barriers are identified for older people on micro, meso, and macrolevel. Through a deconstructionist discussion, the findings, and recommendations of the research will be of interest to arts workers and managers in how non-cultural objectives, such as more age diverse workspaces, can open untapped resources of skills, professional experience, time and commitment. The insight sits within arts and cultural management for critical and holistic approaches, particularly, following sociologist Riley’s approach to reducing age discrimination, advocating structural progression in order to alleviate age discrimination and foster ageinclusion in the wider society.