Remembering My Hat

3rd August 2016

EuroBiReCon16: Workshop on ageing

This is some notes from a workshop that I co-organised with Sue George and Nickie Roome, as promised to the participants. Our abstract said:

Growing older and being bisexual

What is it like to grow older as a bisexual person? What issues and needs are likely to become more important? How can bisexual and LGBTQ communities be more inclusive of older people? How can research best serve the needs of older bisexual people? This open discussion session will discuss these and other questions related to bisexual ageing. People of all ages are welcome to attend but those who feel these questions have personal relevance are especially welcome. The facilitators of this session are: Sue George, long-time bisexual activist and author of Women and Bisexuality, Nickie Roome, founder of the UK’s first group for older bisexual people and Rebecca Jones who researches and campaigns around ageing and bisexuality.



(cc) photoscarce

It was great to have a room full of people all wanting to discuss ageing – about 25 people in total, I think. We started off with some introductions from Sue, Nickie and me, about why we had wanted to run this workshop. Then we generated some possible topics to discuss and each person voted for their favourite. There were two topics that only one person wanted to talk about (‘being ‘younger’ older’ and ‘working with existing organisations for older people’) so those people chose a second topic. This left us with four topics:

  • Making bi space more age-inclusive
  • Identity and history
  • Sexuality, sex and ageing
  • Inter-generational issues

I took some brief notes while listening in on the groups, and also as each group fed back to the whole group. But if anyone who was in one of the groups would like to add more detail so we have a better record, that would be great – just let me know.

Making bi space more age-inclusive: This group talked about recognising the resources that older bisexual people can offer to bisexual communities and individuals. These resources include both personal experience gained through having lived a relatively long time and also, sometimes, long experience of activism and organising community events. This group also talked about the importance of recognising and acknowledging different choices of identity labels.

Identity and history: This group talked about painful personal experiences of their bisexuality not being accepted by others. They commented that it seemed to be very different for (some) young women now, with ‘bi-curious’ and similar identities seeming to be much more common. They noted that this new acceptability of female bisexuality is often very sexist and thought that we would really know that bisexuality had become acceptable once more men felt able to claim it.

Sexuality, sex and ageing: This group discussed the invisibility and taboos around later life sexuality and sexual activity. They felt that this did harm to both ageing individuals and to younger people and communities more widely. They also talked about significant age differences between partners seeming to become more taboo in later adult life, and about the possibility of intimacy becoming more important than sex for some people. They also discussed coming out in later life, dating apps and the impact of parenting on sexuality.

Inter-generational issues: This group started off by discussing some hurtful personal experiences of being excluded from an LGBT group on the grounds of age, because older bisexual men were seen as sexually predatory. It then went on to talk about experiences of ageism in both directions – from older people towards younger as well as vice versa. The group talked about the way in which someone’s ‘length of being out’ age may not match their chronological age. It suggested running workshops on inter-generational issues at future BiCons and other bi gatherings.


smaller sunset amsterdam

“Sunset over Amsterdam” (cc) by Peter Eijkman

20th July 2016

Looking Both Ways: At last some real-life case studies about older bisexual(ish) people!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:35
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Case studies about people are great, in education and in workplace settings. They help you think about complex issues in a human and manageable way. They can make abstract ideas concrete and graspable. People generally like to read them, which is half the battle as an educator or trainer.

Training and education for health and social care sector workers often uses case studies, and within my particular specialist area – the ageing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people – there are some brilliant case studies where people’s individual stories powerfully make the case for why sexuality and gender identity continue to matter in later life. But, until now, there’s been a bit of a shortage of case studies about bisexual older people (and there is still a shortage for trans older people). There are a few but usually only focusing on the person’s same-sex relationships, not on what it means to have had relationships with more than one gender.

Some sort of flag

(cc) Peter Salanki

So about three years ago, I and two colleagues – Kathryn Almack and Rachael Scicluna –  cresting a wave of enthusiasm at a seminar on bisexual ageing in the Minding the Knowledge Gaps ESRC series, decided to do something about this. We set out to interview people aged over 50 who either identified as bisexual, or had bisexual pasts but didn’t now describe themselves as bisexual. We only had little bits of money to enable various parts of the study, so it took us two years to gather 12 interviews but we’re really pleased to now be able to present the case studies within a short report.

The people we talked to probably aren’t representative of older people with bisexual histories or identities – we don’t actually know what older bi(ish) people are like, as there’s been so little research with this group but the people who took part in this study were all white and predominantly middle class and well-educated.

The report and the case studies are copyright, but with a creative commons BY licence which means that anyone can reuse and rework them, as long as you acknowledge the original source. We hope that they are useful and would love to hear any feedback.

You can download the Looking Both Ways Report online version here. BiUK have kindly paid for some print copies as well, so I can send these out to individuals (but don’t have enough for mass mailings). I’ll be bringing some along to EuroBiReCon as well.




22nd June 2016

Learning Design categories – a list of ideas

This is one of my posts that will probably make no sense at all to people beyond the OU, so apologies if that is you. But for those who are at the OU, and especially those who are academics involved in the production of our materials…


(cc) Rain Rabbit


I run a group within the HSC department on production for academics new(ish) to the OU. We were talking recently about working with the Learning Design categories, and decided it would be useful to try to generate a list between us of different ways in which you could design activities of each type. This isn’t exhaustive, nor definitive, and we make no promises that these are always good suggestions – some of them would have to be done very carefully to to get over the bar of ‘but why on earth would students actually bother to do this?’. But we hope it’s useful to other people scratching their heads to think of non-assimilative activities (although we did include those too).


  • Readings – academic and more everyday kinds of texts
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Poetry
  • Maps and infographics based on maps
  • Images and artwork
  • Newspaper headlines
  • Personal stories
  • Case studies
  • Diagrams, inforgrahpics and graphs


  • Filling in a grid (gives more structure than free text ‘take notes’)
  • Numerical calculations
  • Make a powerpoint or other presentation
  • Do an elevator pitch
  • Draw a spider diagram or concept map
  • Write a briefing for a named audience
  • Write a tweet or headline
  • Write a blog entry
  • List of key points
  • Use the existing sticky notes tool on the VLE
  • Diagram which you can write on or manipulate or put sticky notes on
  • Make some notes (boring!)
  • Precis activities (e.g. rewrite in your own words, not more than 200 words)
  • Take a photo
  • Caption competition or cartoon bubble filling
  • Curating a collection of images or something else
  • Highlighting parts of text (highlighter tool in Word or offline versions)

Finding and Handling information

  • USE THE LIBRARY’S EXISTING TUTORIALS ON Digital Information Literacy
  • Access databases and other data sources and then extract some information
  • Finding a journal article or book from a catalogue
  • Doing a citation search
  • Following up a reference of your choice from a set reading
  • Generate your own data (avoid anything that’s close to interviewing people because of research ethics!)
  • Finding and evaluating infographics
  • Working with graphs and other pictorial data



  • THIS ONE IS HARD TO DO and we were least happy about the definition of this one
  • Reflective activities
  • Trying out a productive output on someone you know and getting feedback on it.
  • Trying an activity on yourself e.g. relaxation techniques, you could even include a pre and post test.


  • Drag and drop where it bounces back if incorrect
  • Quizzes with feedback on incorrect answers
  • Choose between two positions on a complex (often ethical) issue, feedback says ‘that’s valid, but have you also thought about …’ and then summarises the arguments for the opposite position.
  • Games and simulations (very time consuming to develop though)


What have we missed? Please do suggest more. And of course let us know if you think we’ve got anything completely wrong.

9th June 2016

WELS Scholarship and Research Day 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 12:47
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My usual incompete and partial liveblog notes from a seminar. This one is a Faculty-wide seminar.

Students as partners and change agents

Mick Healey

Version of Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of participation, adapted to students. Top of ladder ‘students in control’ Bovill and Bulley 2011

As with original, being at the top of the ladder isn’t always the right solution, but need to consider the possibility of going to the top of ladder and justify where you are.


(cc) greg Johnson

Student partnership is a threshold concept for academics! They struggle and then once they’ve got it, they can’t go back to seeing it the old way.

Lots of case studies of different ways students have participated in learning and teaching in HE on their website.

[I particularly liked the one about students designing multiple-choice questions, the best of which would feature in the final exam. Especially as I spent yesterday designing a quiz around a reading for a new module (K242: Ageing Societies and Global Health) and was aware, as always, how designing the quiz had forced me to understand the reading much more deeply than previously. I’m not sure how you would adapt this for the OU context, but it seems worth exploring]

‘Listening to students’ is not necessarily the same as participative approaches. Listening can still be within the ‘student as consumer’ model, whereas students as change agents is more radical than this. Theoretical model by Dunne and Zandstra (2011 p. 17)

Significance of language (jargon) as a barrier to participation.

9 Principles:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Inclusivity
  4. Reciprocity
  5. Empowerment
  6. Trust
  7. Courage
  8. Plurality
  9. Responsibility

(Higher Education Academy, 2015)

Same issues as all participative research about it increasing cost, complexity, admin but it’s an issue of commitment and understanding the depth of the benefit it brings.

30th October 2015

CABS/CPA seminar on Social Media & Research in Ageing: Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 17:34
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Ian Watson, Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

Research unbound: Finch, open access and social media

Examples of ways new technologies always disrupt existing social norms and business models (telephone: people bothering you right in your house! Uber and taxis. Air B&B. High street travel agents. Napster and now Spotify)

Academic publishing is no exception. Except possibly more stuck in the past to start with.

Dame Janet Finch – Finch Report 2012. How to make publically funded research free to the public who funded it. Promise was all available by 2014. Has it happened?


(cc Mark Colllton)

New scheme ‘Access to Research’ from Feb 2014 for 10 million academic articles. But you can only see abstracts online, have to go to a physical library which is part of the scheme to actually download the article. Old fashioned business model.

Adding ‘google juice’ – blogging about your research increases impact [indeed]. But doesn’t help if people then can’t get the article. Institutional repositories are not easy to search [I think the OU’s is okay, but I’m very familiar with it, of course] [Also, I think another problem is that the form of many academic articles is so unfriendly to non-academics]

Their project ‘Research Unbound’ – blogging platform using WordPress. Peer support, improving quality from feedback en route.

Who? What? What? = Who are you communicating with? What do you want them to hear? Then what you do you want them to do about it?

Brevity is really important. The Economist magazine has really useful style guides.

Will be written up later today here with links:

[This is all getting very meta]

CABS/CPA seminar on Social Media and Research in Ageing: Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 16:38
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Prof Shailey Minocha, OU

A case study-based investigation of experiences of people aged 65 years and over with online social interactions

What she has learned about conducting research with older people, as a relative newcomer to the field. Three projects:

  1. 2012 project online social interactions of people over 65
  2. Social isolation and loneliness in MK for people 55+  (not just digital inclusion but including that) -funding from MK council. There’s a link between digital inclusion and social inclusion.
  3. Intergenerational photo-journal site – Blipfoto

Has learned not to use term ‘older people’ but to specify ‘over 55’ or ‘over 65’

Has also learned how important and hard it is to create an authentic researcher identity by email, as people are very suspicious.

People don’t always want sensitive things recorded – two researchers means can do fieldnotes together afterwards.


(cc) Robin Hutton

Case study of 90 yr old suddenly on line via tablet – says has changed her life, enabled her to keep learning, which she values highly.

ONS stats show older people are going online more, but not necessarily staying online – lapsed users about 6% v. 0.9% younger people.

One-off training not enough – needs continuing support – drop-in groups very useful. Training on specific programmes is not useful if that’s not what people want to do. Training needs to be personalised to what people actually want to do online [hot news!]

‘Digital by default’ is problematic because older people more likely to find captcha etc. authentication difficult to see and may not know how to enlarge screen. Screenreaders don’t always work well.

Increasingly people are using tablets rather than pcs

People preferring content within the email, not as an attachment, because people worry about viruses in attachments – not behind university firewalls!


(cc) Thomas Hawke

Blipfoto research – one photo per day (no more) + quite extensive commentary on their day often. Lots of people using them to stay in touch with faraway family. Reciprocal commenting on each others photos. Some technical advice, some comments on content of photos.

19 age 55+ users comments on what it means to them:

  • keeping brain active (about half said this) Quite hard to take a good and interesting photo everyday
  • Encourages you to go out, gives structure to day, makes you notice things more

People have fears about loss of anonymity, trolling, addiction, reducing motivation to get out of the house – making them more isolated. But also value very highly for social connections

Excellent story about older woman with motion sensors in sofa – realised family and carers weren’t visiting her so much, because sofa was telling them she was moving around = fine. So she sat still a lot, until they called! They adjusted their arrangements.

Blipfoto older people users using facebook, but quite passively to see what family members are doing. Using Flikr more, to post photos in excess of the daily limit of one on Blipfoto.

[Audience discussion of dangers of online]

Comment from Jonathan Hughes: Dangers of talking about other people, but this is us! Lots of us in this room are aged over 55, we use these kinds of websites.

Question from Geraldine Boyle: demographics? Middle class?

Answer: was international. Don’t know – was an opportunistic sample. Only asked about age, country and length of years using site.

Comment from Joyce Cavaye: Problems with care homes not having wifi or not having staff time to support residents with online use, even when they have run training for residents on using tablets etc.

CABS/CPA seminar on Social Media and Research in Ageing

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 14:41
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30th October 2015, The OU Camden, London

My usual partial and incomplete liveblog notes from a seminar. Not necessarily a representation of what speakers said or meant, just the things that interested me. [My own thoughts in square brackets like this]


Lara Crisp, Editor, Gransnet

Older people and the internet: Challenging misconceptions

Gransnet started 2011, as spin off from Mumsnet

Busiest social networking site for over 50s, especially forums [reflecting and perpetuating association of older women and grandparenting]

Content is user-generated – editors mostly just tweak what people are saying in forums



(I chose this picture over the more obvious logo because of the genderqueering, obviously)

940,000 page impressions per month last month

120,000 unique users

10 mins dwell time (about double the average for this kind of site) [but is this just because it takes

9 pages per visit

12.6k followers on Facebook, 17.4 on Twitter, 16.2 on Pinterest, 36.5K on Google Plus. Twitter and Facebook are especially lively

On forums, people mostly don’t like terms ‘older person’ or ‘silver surfer’. Old age is roughly 10 yrs older than they are. Discussion of meanings of ageing. Don’t want to be talked to as an older person (stairlifts, pensions, funeral plans) If they want info on those kind of things, they will go and find it, they don’t want it pushed at them. Did a page recently on how not to advertise to older people

  • 95% female
  • average age 61
  • 55% retired
  • 56% look after grandchildren at least once a month
  • 50% shop online monthly or more.
  • Predominantly middle classs but ‘thrifty’ in terms of shopping – generational effect?

Did have a ‘Grandad’s shed’ forum but got rid of it because decided was too segregating [ha! Classic dilemma]

Reasons for visiting in popularity order:

  1. Competitions
  2. Information
  3. Forums
  4. Books
  5. Advice
  6. Health
  7. Humour
  8. Recipes

Her sense is that Gransnet helps people to manage the transition into retirement, when previously working women loose the day-to-day contact with colleagues. Dealing with menopause is another lifestage big issue that generates a lot of talk.

How gransnetters access the site has changed – now much more likely to access on Tablets and phones, to detriment of desk top. Although desktop still most common, just.

Other social media that Gransnetters use:

  1. Facebook 76%
  2. Twitter 38%
  3. Pinterest 23%
  4. LinkedIn 22% (not surprising when think that many are not retired)
  5. Google+ 13%

Long-distance grandparenting is a bit of a catch phrase on the forums. Lots of people with children and grandchildren elsewhere in the world or not nearby.

Did some work via a London borough library about helping older people get online.

How things have changed:

  • Forums are busier but also more animated – more debate, less tiptoing around
  • More are using other social media platforms – peer-to-peer recommendations and mediations helping this
  • Much more online shopping – click thrus from site + talk on forums about offers
  • Exploring other platforms – starting to do more on YouTube
  • Core users still with them. 30 or 40 people who are online most days.

[Interesting discussion of the name excluding older people without children, when content isn’t mostly specific to grandparents or even grandmothers. But it’s a really strong brand, so don’t want to lose it]

My Q: Why do you think the tone of the forums is more supportive and less combative than much social media (including Mumsnet)? Is it a generational effect or is it about being relatively novice users of social media, so still being relatively polite?

Joyce Cavaye: It might be about how the tone is set initially by the first users of the site, continues afterwards

Lara: Might also be about smaller size then Mumsnet – any bust ups get spotted and moderated or mediated by other users more quickly?

7th July 2015

iages conference: Part 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 16:32

Final liveblog of the iages conference. For previous sessions and disclaimers, click backwards from here.

Travis Kong, Hong Kong

The secret garden: Oral history of older gay men in Hong Kong

Wants to understand the changing meaning and nature of homosexuality in many transformations of Hong Kong + changes over life course.

Ageing studies sited in Hong Kong don’t talk about sexuality, studies of homosexuality don’t talk about older people.

20 60+ (60-89) gay men living in HK for more than 40 years. Mostly Chinese, 4 ex pat British.

Colonial HK (1940s and 50s):

  • Homosexuality a crime but arrest very rare – no entrapment like in UK. Why? Govt didn’t want to intervene too much in society. Boundary politics allows space for homosexuality.
  • More about shame than fear.
  • Most people lived in very cramped housing because of high densities – communal living. Physical security and emotional support.
  • Development of argots – ‘going to the gardens to see fish’ ‘played mah-jong, got a good tile’
  • Public spaces, streets, train stations, public toilets – non-normative intimacy. Both public and private simultaneously. Chauncey 1994 “privacy could only be had in public” of New York 1920s

HKSAR (1997 – )

  • Homosexuality decriminalised but still no same sex marriage or anti-discrim law.
  • Families become more privatised, more people living on their own
  • Some still living with wives, privileging families over lovers. Sacrificing themselves to benefit traditional family? Both heterosexual and homosexual [not bisexual?! Surely a candidate descriptor, even if not the right one for this particular individual]. Flexible and multiple identities possible outside Western paradigms. Coming out narratives don’t fit very well.
  • Secret gardens have gone. New gay spaces not always welcoming to older men.

After interviews, set up monthly group, they’ve produced a book together of life stories for non-academic audiences. Lots of amazing photos, with constraint that only two of them were out (masks, hands before face). Knowledge exchange. Set up peer counselling group and telephone helpline for older gay men.


(cc) chong head

Neil Henderson, Univ of Western Cape, South Africa

LGBT ageing and care: A literature study

Report on his fellowship at Sue Ryder centre, Univ of Nottingham. Focusing particularly on care needs of older LGBT people. Got funding for project last month!

[Not many notes because quite familiar terrain to me. Including citing me]

Implications of the literature for South Africa. Older Person’s Act 2006 – broad legislation, nothing specific about LGBT people but constitution is v progressive and civil unions act 2006 allows same sex marriage. Democracy feels fragile but progress on LGBT rights feels possible.

Health care is quite focused on opportunistic infections, so not much on ageing issues. 10% of population is HIV+ and it’s already under-resourced. Little social work intervention for older LGBT people.

Kathy Almack, Nottingham

Navigating personal networks: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans older people’s networks of support towards the end of life

[not much noted as I’m very familiar with this work too]

Mother who had become more accepting of his male partner, but with dementia became less so again -real dilemmas for him to care for mother but not accept her abuse of his partner.


(cc) Nell Moralee

Orla Parslow-Breen, Surrey

Family carer or lesbian: Is it a choice or can I be both?

Lit review from her PhD – submitting next week.

Linda Pickard – single women more likely to become carers than partnered, especially if childless.Taxonomy of different types of daughters (Brody et al. 1994) does not seem to include lesbian daughters. Spinster model v. sandwich model (= married daughter with kids). Much recent research has been on sandwich caring.

iages conference: Part 4

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:09

See previous posts for earlier sessions and disclaimers

Session 5: Intersections


(cc) Amafirlian

Ieva Stoncikaite, Spain

Erica Jong: No fear of ageing and sexuality

Zipless fuck as an encounter without objectification. Self-fulfilment and liberation through sex.

1994 Fear of Fifty problematises this former project. 2007 ‘Beyond the “Zipless Fuck” with Erica Jong suggests older women should have sex with women and decentre phallus in sexual practices. Sex less important but still significant. Jong’s writing about sex has changed as she has aged.

Has a new book coming out in September 2015 Fear of Dying

Neal King, Virginia Tech

Knowing hegemony among intersecting relations

How to recognise hegemony in an intersectional framework? Acceptance of subordination = hegemony. Epistemology of the closet. Sexuality is closeted, gender recasts submission as love, age does it through denying for a long time (you’re not old) and then recasting as love (stepping aside for the next generation)

Age relations are therefore a really good site for thinking about hegemonic masculinity. Ceremonial citations! People really just mean masculinity – list of traits or norms (strength, power, sexual drive, assertiveness etc.)

Connell’s original definition explicitly said ‘in ways that gain the consent to subordination’ (Gramscian). Hegemonic masculinity is about the effects – the consent of the dominated. But harder to get data on this.

How can we get data on this? Look at the diminishment of masculinity and status with older age. Study with Finnish data too – respondents tend to accept ageing will reduce status because of loss of physical and professional status. Buy into neo-liberal imputation of individual responsibility – your fault when you age. Accepting personal responsibility means accepting subordination.

Allows you to look at the actual hegemony, not just lists of traits. People hold themselves responsible, that is hegemonic masculinity.

Chryssy Hunter, London Met

Issues around identity, sexuality an economics in the context of trans* and sexgender nonconforming ageing.

T is not just an adjunct to LGB. Cis as a way of making privilege visible. But it gets reified to suggest that people are either cis or trans – this sets up another binary, which is not helpful.

Sexgender nonconforming is a term she has only started using more recently, previously just used T. [lovely Venn diagram – can’t represent it here].

LGB communities have always done gender differently e.g. butch and femme lesbians, camp gay men. Significance of historical context to which identities are claimed and claimable. Respondents saying they would have identified differently if born at a different point. Sexuality gets recast as gender [one of the Looking Both Ways interviewees reported this too].

T and sexgen nonconforming people’s experiences different from LGB – ‘back into the closet’ while far from ideal, may not even be possible. Legal protections still very limited [also the case for poly people]. Poverty a very unprotected characteristic, indeed demonised, and a particular issue for T and sexgen nonconforming people.

Andy King

Intersecting what? Exploring intersection of ageing, gender, sexualities in talk-in-interaction

Work in progress, not yet a paper.

Picking up Neal’s term of ‘ceremonial’ use of terms. Wants to avoid ceremonial approach to intersectionality [yes, really important project].

Putting intersectionality together with Conversation Analysis, specifically MCA.

Intersectionality foreground the matrix and contextual effects – fits nicely with CA. Lesley McCall 2005 taxonomy of three intersectional approaches:

  1. Anticategorical – deconstructs singular categories to illustrate their effects, like my paper yesterday.
  2. Intracategorical – takes a single category and examines complexity within the group Jill Willken’s paper yesterday
  3. Intercategorical – Mark Hughes paper yesterday

Sociological problem – a dance of constraint and resistance. Raises a methodological dilemma – how do we show it empirically, not just say it exists. How do people do intersectionality in talk, CA is the answer [surprise surprise!]

[summary of ethnomethodology,  CA and MCA] Recipient-designed i.e. radically contextual. Categories predict actions.

[account of research project and resulting sociological queasiness]

iages conference: Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 12:38

More liveblog notes from a conference. Click backwards for earlier sessions and disclaimers.

Yvette Taylor, South Bank

The queer subject of ‘getting on’

Lots of generational talk in sexualities research – coming of age of queer movements.

Reproduction talk is very time-focused – time bomb, older/younger mothers

Queer families:

  • Very classed in approaches to temporality. M/C L&G parents invoked ‘good planning’, long-term effort – better that het people because can’t have children without planning and effort. W/C didn’t.

Queer Cares:

  • Yvette and her grandmother. Movement in time from grandmother to patient

Queer spaces of Academia:

  • Neo-liberal universities create normative temporalities. Pregnant researchers, ESRC funding deadlines


(cc) epSos .de

Emmanuel Mogaji, Bedfordshire

Breaking the stereotype: Ageing, gender, sexualities intersections in UK print advertisements

Adverts as source of information on social stereotypes (Kay and Furnham, 2013)

Analysed print adverts in 9 UK newspapers; quality, midmarket and tabloid.

Adults mostly featured in relation to fashion, travel and food. Older adults healthcare and energy companies. Men more likely to be found in business locations, women in home. Women more likely to be featured in sexual pose. Non-heterosexual sexuality not visible. Two women together, but could be friends. Maybe a celebrity who was known to be queer would read as LGBT?

Mocked up some images changing the photograph of the person in the advert – older black woman in advert for bank advice team, pregnant woman on ad for life insurance, two women in bed with a baby on advert for mattress.

Maricel Oro-Piqueras, Catalunya

Representations of female ageing and sexuality in Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger, Angela Carter’s Wise Children, and Doris Lessing’s ‘The Grandmothers’.

Gott and Hinchliff’s finding about significance of no longer expecting a new partner to sexuality. Quoting my old ‘That’s very rude’ paper (Jnl of Narrative Inquiry, 2003? 2004?) on older women talking about sex.

Moon Tiger challenges bildungsroman with marriage as the endpoint.

Wise Children 75 yr old twin women. Sex as disrupting time, returning to past.

[Missed the point about The Grandmothers, sorry]

Elizabeth Barry, Warwick

Narrower and narrower would her bed be: Menopause in philosophy, (sexual) politics and culture

Virginia Woolf wrote elliptically about menopause, in her diary and in early drafts of Mrs Dalloway (published draft even more elliptical), had ambiguous feelings about it herself.

Clarissa initially feels ‘sisterly’ to minor character who may be menopausal, but then contrasts herself to her dried-up, shrivelled persona. Later, Clarissa feels ‘suddenly shrivelled, aged, breastless’ + quote from title. Party and dinner party are social comforts. When denied, feels invisible.

De Beavoir comments on Mrs Dalloway’s moments of luminous happiness in The Second Sex. Germaine Greer The Change critiques de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and view of ageing as dying. But, as Stephen Katz points out, that’s been the medical characterisation of ageing since the 19th C.

Robert Wilson 1963 ‘The fate of the non-treated postmenopausal woman: A plea for the maintenance of adequate oestrogen from puberty to grave’ Jnl of Am Geriatrics Society. (Mis)quotes de Beauvoiir in later book Feminine Forever 1966. Menopause as pathological disorder. Greer also draws on these medical accounts of unavoidable.

Kathleen Woodward comments on the oddly archaic inevitability and time inflexibility of Greer’s account

Audience comment: Betty Frieden’s Fountain of Age came out at the same time, also writing about menopause.

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