Victoria Patrick

Colum, Maggie + George

In October 2021, Design Age Institute and This Age Thing held the first sessions of the Wisdom Hour workshops at the Design Museum, with participants aged 25-84 taking part.

Facilitated by This Age Thing‘s George Lee, these interactive workshops explored how we define wisdom and if getting wiser has anything to do with getting older.

The first question tackled was, ‘What is Wisdom?’

"Wisdom is more about place and objects than I imagined...and I need to look closer. And at all ages, we are relevant in our society."

Here are some of the insights from our first session’s participants.

Wisdom is…….

— more than knowledge

— experience of life gained over the passage of time

— a combination of hardships and culture, family and environment

— knowing when to ask for help, when you don’t know something, knowing your limitations

— learning, living, listening

— making better decisions

—making fewer mistakes

— living a full and happy life

— being true to yourself

— knowledge and good judgment

The second question we asked was, ‘Can objects help us become more wise?’

Participants shared a range of personal objects and items that represented wisdom for them and discussed how they have gained or lost wisdom, including guest speakers Colum Lowe, Director of the Design Age Institute and Maggy Pigott CBE, Vice-Chair of Open Age. 

Some of the wise items shared included: 

— my necklace made by my father, encourages me to keep on learning

— a photograph of my mother

— my faith

— my code of living

— my diary that I write in the language of the country I am living

— myself

— a file made by my dad with all my certificates and achievements from birth

— quotes which inspired my book about living joyfully

— my grey hair

— my USB stick with audio books which help me experience the world (I am blind)

Illustrator Jess Nash took part in the workshop to visually capture the sessions, and her colourful illustrations documenting objects and conversations.

More Information

The next session of the Wisdom Hour takes place on 11 December at the Design Museum, exploring gifts & giving.

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