Upcoming event:Migration, Ageing and Digital Kinning

Migration, Ageing and Digital Kinning: The role of distant care support networks in experiences of ageing well

11 June 2019, 12.00 PM – 11 June 2019, 1.00 PM

Prof. Loretta Baldassar

Room 4.05/06, School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA

This event is part of the School of Education’s ‘Bristol Conversations in Education’ seminar series. It is presented in conjunction with the Faculty Ageing and the Lifecourse group. These seminars are free and open to the public.

Speaker: Prof. Loretta Baldassar

High rates of migration contribute to the dispersal of support networks across distance and national borders. For older people reliant on informal care for social support, this creates a high risk of increased social isolation. In this paper, we examine the importance of distant support networks maintained with communication technologies, through a process of ‘digital kinning’. We draw on data from a qualitative research project conducted in Australia (2016-19) with over 100 older migrants (55+) born in eight countries comprising ethnographic interviews recording participants’ histories of migration, experiences of ageing, care and support networks and uses of technology and network maps comparing experiences and practices of proximate and distant support networks. Results show that older migrants in Australia overcome significant obstacles to maintain their informal support networks across distance through practices of ‘digital kinning’. The geographically distant social networks they maintain are essential sources of social connection and support, cultural identity, and protection of social identity. Although essential to the wellbeing of older migrants, distant support networks and the digital kinning practices that sustain them receive little attention from policy makers and health practitioners. We argue that organisations concerned with care of older people must improve awareness of distant support networks and support digital kinning practices. This could range from including distant kin in healthcare plans to prioritising digital inclusion initiatives.

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Emma Rossiter

Upcoming event: Negotiating intergenerational relations in a changing demographic landscape

Date: Wed, 5 June 2019, 16:00 – 18:30
Location: Room 3.30, Wills Memorial Building
Queen’s Road
University of Bristol
Bristol
BS8 1RJ
Please do sign up on the EventBrite if you are able to come and share widely.
Details
The Ageing And The Lifecourse Research Group (Faculty Of Social Sciences And Law) Invites You To A Keynote Speech OnNegotiatingIntergenerational Relations In A Changing Demographic LandscapeBy Simon Biggs, Professor Of Gerontology & Social Policy, Melbourne University, Australia, With Discussants Ann-Kristin Boström (Jönköping University) And Gregory Mannion (University Of Stirling).
 
The demographics of population ageing are well known, yet cultural adaptation has been slow to gain momentum, beyond notions of continuing to stay as one is. Current narratives include extended working, mid-lifestyle consumption or resisting changing lifecourse priorities. It is suggested that cultural adaptation contains at least two principal challenges: finding novel purpose and contribution from a long life that are connected to changing lifecourse priorities, plus negotiating a situation where generational groups are becoming approximately the same size.
 
A key element in understanding intergenerational relations would be the relative capacity to put oneself in the place of the age-other and this talk will examine the idea of generational intelligence in this context. A number of tensions will be examined as a means of interrogating this increasingly contested landscape, each of which have implications on how age relations can be negotiated and new forms of active engagement might be created: between positive and negative forms of discontinuity, positive forms of othering, within-age and between-age thinking, and, present and lifecourse centred perspectives. Each would contribute toward the conceptual tools we need to make generationally informed judgements about age-related interventions and to future-proof policy and other initiatives from an intergenerational perspective.
 
Registration will take place from 15:45 with the talk beginning at 16:00. Drinks and nibbles will be served following the talk and Q&A session from 17:30.This is a FREE event but places should be booked. When registering please let us know if you have any access requirements.For more information or to register over the phone please contact myself directly or Dr Wenjing Zhang. Email: wenjing.zhang@bristol.ac.uk Telephone: 0117 331 0732.

Loneliness Across the Lifecourse Event

The Alonely Monologues were originally performed at a festival at Somerset House

On Friday April 5th the Ageing and the Lifecourse faculty research group held a seminar entitled ‘Loneliness across the lifecourse’. Speakers included James Duggan from Manchester Metropolitan University, Pam Qualter from the University of Manchester and our own Paul Willis (Policy Studies). A video was also shown of the Alonely Monologues performed and produced by community researchers who worked alongside Jenny Barke (Historical Studies), Helen Manchester (School of Education) and BS3 Community on a co-produced research project developed through the Productive Margins programme.

We were delighted that a very diverse audience came along to participate in the event including colleagues from across the university from the faculty of social science, but also the medical school and the faculty of arts. In addition, a number of external collaborators and interested members of the public attended, including representatives from BS3 Community and community navigators working for LinkAge Bristol.

Images from the Loneliness Connects Us project

Several speakers pointed out that loneliness is being discussed as ‘a new social epidemic’, a giant evil of our time. Loneliness was discussed in this seminar as an issue that should be explored across the lifecourse. However, two peak times for loneliness were discussed – these being adolescence and older age. Research projects and findings were presented around both of these key times of life. Following the Alonely Monologues (not dry eye in the house) James presented a co-produced project, funded by the Cooperative Foundation, with young people ‘Loneliness Connects Us’.

Paul Willis then presented on his NIHR research exploring marginalised older men’s experience of loneliness.

Pam Qualter: University of Manchester

Pam Qualter has been studying loneliness for many years and understands loneliness as a journey throughout our lives. She pointed out that loneliness is often a normative response to social situations and is something that all of us will undoubtedly feel at some point in our lives. Aside from this there is extensive research that suggests that 10-11% of people feel lonely all of the time and that this number has not changed since 1940 (in relation to older people) and 2002 (in relation to young people when the first research around youth loneliness was conducted). Whilst this raises questions concerning the ‘social epidemic’ we hear about in the media it also raises questions about how researchers, policy makers and practitioners can collaborate to develop initiatives that support this 10% of people who are chronically lonely.

We’d love to hear from you if you find this of interest and would like to explore possible collaborations.