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Leeds Older People’s Forum
Front of Leeds City Museum, on a sunny day
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September 29, 2022

What is Overlooked?

‘Overlooked’ is an exhibition (opening at Leeds City Museum in February 2023) co-curated by a group of volunteers, aged 14-24, called the Preservative Party.  The group have been established for over 10 years and have curated multiple large-scale exhibitions at Leeds City Museum.

‘Overlooked’ will explore the personal stories of people connected to Leeds with a particular focus on voices which have traditionally been overlooked, in an effort to represent and empower communities today.  This is a project led by volunteers which prioritises community consultation and collaborative working.  The group feel that everyone has a right to tell their own stories, with this exhibition encouraging visitors to ask questions and contribute to an honest conversation about representation. 

The exhibition’s strands include: LGBTQ+ voices; autistic and neurodivergent voices; the experiences of children, older people, and people with disabilities, mental illness, and physical and sensory impairments; the voices of the enslaved and the colonised; and much more. The exhibition will be people powered, exploring the personal stories of real local people, both past and present, who deserve to be heard.

As Leeds aspires to be an Age Friendly City, where it is good to grow old in, it’s important that older people are represented in the Overlooked exhibition. They should be valued and respected for their wealth of knowledge and skills.

Ageism may affect anyone during their lifetime. Many of us will have had experiences of when certain age groups are viewed negatively, such as: ‘screaming toddlers’, ‘teenage parents’, ‘self-obsessed youth’, and many more.

Older people are often ‘written off’ and seen as inferior to younger people. We’d like to see a return to a time when elders were respected, seen as wise and people to turn to for advice. We hope that representing older people in Overlooked will help to tackle ageism.

Jordan Keighley
Youth Engagement Curator, Leeds City Museum

Anne Chitty
Member, Age Friendly Steering Group