Arts Gym member Margaret Emerton reflects on a term of online workshops under lockdown

With in-person workshops unable to take place for much of 2020, like everyone, our Arts Gymnasium group for over 50s have had to adjust to new ways of working together. As their autumn term draws to a close, Arts Gym member Margaret Emerton reflects on her experience of taking part in online poetry workshops, and the skills and confidence with technology that the group have gained this year. 

Along with the rest of the world, this term, the Arts Gymnasium group had to adapt to a new way of working, being unable to meet in-person at the Belgrade.

We found the answer to the challenges in online workshops, held via Zoom, but with members of the group ranging in age from people in their 50s to those in their 80s, this proved to be a little challenging.

While those in their 50s had been the first generation to have IT lessons in school and mostly continued to learn as adults, the older members generally had much less experience with technology. For those in their 80s, many of whom had left school at 14 or 15, their early experiences of technology were red phone boxes at the end of the road, or maybe a 12 inch black and white television in the corner of the family room. Some had eventually moved into jobs that required them to use computers, but others have struggled to catch up as the internet has become more and more integral to everyday life.