Ageing, it now seems, is everybody’s business. As society has focused increasingly on the problems and the potential of later life, researchers and scholars in ageing – ‘gerontologists’ -  have built a rapidly accumulating body of research over the past 40-50 years. These gerontologists have come from many different backgrounds, creating a dynamic multi- and inter-disciplinary field of study. But what is the relationship between society’s attitudes to ageing and the research that has been done? Why is there still a lack of consensus about what gerontology is and where its boundaries lie? And, as gerontologists themselves age, how do they feel that their research findings relate to their own lived experiences? 

Our two-year project (2015-17) is an oral and socio-cultural history of the evolution of this increasingly important inter- and multidisciplinary field. We will gain unique insights from people who have been active in building the gerontological knowledge base since the establishment of the British Society of Gerontology (BSG) in 1971. They will take part in filmed interviews which will be available online, and will also be photographed by professional photographer and gerontologist Sukey Parnell, to create an exhibition highlighting their contributions. We will also be examining material from the BSG archives to add further insights. Our findings will have implications for future generations of academic colleagues, policy makers and practitioners. The project is funded by The Leverhulme Trust and supported by the British Society of Gerontology and the Centre for Policy on Ageing.

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