Remembering My Hat

13th July 2012

British Society of Gerontology conference 2012: Part 5 Notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 12:36

Robin Mann and Emanuela Bianchera

Bangor University and Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

The role of grandparents within Italian transnational families in South Wales

Part of wider study of grandparenthood within bilingual families: a Welsh case study – some Welsh-speaking families, some Italian. Interestes in grandparents as potential passers-on of culture.

About 3k people of Italian birth in Wales but 10,000 if you include descendents. Mostly emigrated betwen the wars. Has been portrayed by media as a successful model migration – evidence of Wales as an inclusive multicultural society. Welsh people described as ‘Italiansin the rain’. Characteristic businesses (cafes, ice cream shops, fish and chip shops) not in conflict with locals economic interests – created own niche and brand.

Lots of circular and seasonal migration back to Italy (Bardi), including marriage with local Italian women who then move to Wales. Festa dell’emigrante 13th August every year in Bardi – all nationalities but lots of Welsh flags.

Food as most ‘successful’ aspect of transmission of culture to G3. Some continuing use of dialect – esp learned through mothers and grandmothers.

G3 using humour to distance themselves from parents’ and grandparents’ ‘fake Welsh-Italian’ and contrasting that with their own more authentic explorations of Italian-ness.

Methodological limits – hard to recruit people who didn’t feel Italian or weren’t connected to networks.

Anna Tarrant

The Open University

Exploring men’s negotiations of ageing masculinities in the familialcarescapes of grandfathering

‘Carescapes’ as a term to indicate temporal and spatial character of care.

Some persisting gendered roles – grandfather as ‘Butlin’s redcoat’ doing outings out of the house, taking swimming etc. and grandmothers doing personal and home-based care. But some new grandfathers – changing nappies although they hadn’t for own children.

Frustrations of no longer being able to do the physical play that performs masculinity in childcare. Tried to push the boundaries of what they could physically manage. Adult children saying ‘be careful with grandpa’.

Connects to bigger debates about whether men lose status and masculinity through old age.

Bridget Penhale

University of East Anglia

Minding the gap: Improving criminal justice agencies and social support agencies responses to intimate partner violence against older women

Based on analysis of 150 police files from 7 police forces across England and Wales. in last 5 yrs, women aged over 60, police selected the cases. Police gatekeeping [presumably they chose the cases they thought they’d handled reasonably well].

Also doing qualitative analysis of some of the cases n=30.

75% victims 60-69 yr old so younger older women

2/3 of suspects were spouses 15% co-habitees, 10 former spouses, 6% divorced/separated

Suspect as care provider – 20%

Susepct as care recipient – 10%

Victim with mental illness 10%, dementia 3%

41% suspects history of prior violent offences

[lots more stats. Seems pretty much the same characteristics as younger women and intimate partner violence]

Me: What is distinctive about older women’s experiences of intimate partner violence

Answer: Not in this study, but from previous qualitative study:

  • longevity of abuse – across the whole time of a long-term relationship
  • lack of recognition that it was abuse
  • adult daughters naming it as abuse and supporting to get help
  • not known to other agencies – police as first port of call

British Society of Gerontology conference 2012: Part 4 notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 11:04

LGBT Symposium 2 – Rights and advocacy

Mark Hughes,

Southern Cross University, Australia

Towards the Inquiry into Aged care and beyond: The promise of a new era in LGBTI ageing

Term used is LGBTI but that is debated and contentious

Jo Harrison interviews with ageing LGBT activists

+ 2 older gay men activists who are omnipresent  – Mannie and Kendall

Andrew King,

Kingston University, London

LGBT Tower Hamlets work

Talked to one bisexual older man (aged 58 pseudonym ?Peter) who’d only started identifying as bi in his 50s. Had made friends with two younger gay men who’d taken him to gay pubs and looked after him when he was ill.

Lee-Ann Fenge

Bournemouth University

Two participative projects

‘Methods deck of cards’ as a resource for teaching and training [similar to RoAD vignettes idea, but broader range of resources]. Existing set available from Innovation Centre at Kent and Bournemouth are producing a set soon.

Gay and Grey Project 2006 (Big Lottery Funding) older LGB people as researchers

Gay and Pleasant Land – part of New Dynamics of Ageing programme

Made a film about the lifecourse of an older gay person –Rufus Stone. Josh Appignanesi from a story by Kip Jones. There’s a clip on YouTube and the film is touring film festivals and should eventually be available on the web (not yet).

Antony Smith

Age UK

Everyone in the sector has heard of the Opening Doors projects in London, but there are also some highly successful rural projects – Shropshire and ‘Highland Rainbow Folk’ – like a definition of hard-to-reach people!

Need for inter-generational work among LGBT people.

ILGA Europe’s new report on human rights – UK comes top for LGBT rights in Europe. Above Netherlands!

British Society of Gerontology conference 2012: Part 3 Notes

Second Plenary

Murna Downs

University of Bradford

From invisible patient to citizen and activist: Dementia comes of age

Giving a plenary as a coming of age marker for an academic lifecourse?

Don’t know as much about user-involvement in dementia care as we do about stigma.

New policy statement [missed source – something govtmental] 9 ‘I’ statements which indicate good quality care ‘I can enjoy life’ ‘I was diagnosed early’ etc. Alzheimer’s Soc now using a similar series of I statements

Usual thorny issues of user-involvement:

  • Who is involved?
  • Serving whose agenda?
  • At what pace are we working? Going too fast is a problem
  • With what resources?
  • With what adaptions and accommodations? Going to people’s homes and day centres really important. Not privileging the verbal and articulate people.
  • Real or tokenistic?

Dementia is progressive – how long through the journey do people stay with you [also the case for e.g. M.S. and old age]

If you’re a dementia activist in care, do you end up being put on anti-psychotic drugs to stop you being a nuisance?

Earlier diagnosis of dementia means that there are people in circulation with dementia who are ‘just like us’ researchers. This creates a danger where we think we are including/consulting PWD when actually it’s only the most able. Maybe Arts kinds of activities are a better way of involving people with more advanced dementia than membership of advisory groups and working groups. [Maybe arts kinds of activities are better way of involving all sorts of non-verbal, MC semi-academic people]

Chris Phillipson: danger that bids to NIHR and ESRC scheme will be a muddled mix of bio-medical model and critical perspectives (because the field is like that).

British Society of Gerontology conference 2012: Part 2 notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 10:44

LGBT Symposium 1

Nancy Knauer

Prof of Law Templer Univ, Philadelphia

Census accident – US censuses don’t ask about sexual identity but federal govt wanted to know about diff sex couples living together without being married, so started asking people about partnerships, and found same sex couples answering! Self report, so obv. under-report. Complex, because some states do have same sex marriage but it’s not recognised at federal level, so people may be answering ‘no’ to partnered because they are same sex married. [But amusing about how quantitative research can play out]

LGBT ageing as the counter-example to the It Gets Better campaign? ‘It Gets Better and then it gets an awful lot worse?’

[Audience and I disagree – sometimes it gets an awful lot worse but sometimes it’s okay]

Prof Brian Heaphy

Manchester Univ

The changing contexts of LGBT ageing

New Stonewall study compares LGB OP and heterosexual OP

There are distinctive LGB issues – living alone, lack of legal protection – but cohort effects means the picture is not just one of isolation.

New commonalities between LGB and het experiences, esp in relation to ageing. Broadly, if you’ve got money, family and cultural capital, ageing can be pretty positive.

But family relations are actually negotiated and highly variable for everyone. Just because you’re heterosexual and have had children doesn’t necessarily mean you have people to support you in your old age (Finch and Mason old study).

Het people becoming more like LGB people ? Or other way round? [I think both – lifecourses becoming more diverse and variable. Risk society. Choice society. This makes het people have to go off roadmaps more than used to]

James Taylor


OP report

1,000 ish LGB OP

1,000 ish het OP

Rebecca Jones

The Open University

The disappearing ‘B’ in LGBT Ageing

I was a bit too busy to take notes in this talk…

Jane Traies

Univ of Sussex

400+ older lesbians

371 q’airres

40 life stories – some ints and some telephone and writing.

Delib using term ‘old lesbian’ not ‘older lesbian’ as reclaiming of old age.

78% of her responsdents said they would describe themselves as feminist  – more likely to say so if younger

 But 22% said ‘no’ and that’s sometimes to do with gender expression – much more likely to have identified as butch or femme and to have had binary gender roles in their lesbian relationships if said they weren’t a feminist.

Kath Woodward 1999 “We need to create for ourselves cultural models of older women as… [didn’t manage to get rest of quote but it was something about imagining futures, which I’m always interested in]

Has several respondents like Muriel (from my talk and ‘Troubles with bisexuality’ chapter) who now i.d. as lesbian.

12th July 2012

British Society of Gerontology conference 2012: Part 1

Here are some more personal notes from a conference. As ever, they are in no sense a representation of everything that was said, just some of the things that struck me as interesting or connected with my own work. Things that are my thoughts rather than what other people said are in square brackets. The conference is the:

British Society of Gerontology

41st Annual Conference

University of Keele

10th-12th July 2012 

The conference got off to a great start for me when my fellow-CABS member, ex-colleague, ex-PhD supervisor and, I hope I do not presume too much to say, friend, Bill Bytheway was presented with the BSG’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to British gerontology. I’ve written more about that over here on the CABS blog. But it made a very happy start to the conference for me.

More note form from now on:

Opening Plenary

Prof Toni Calasanti

Virginia Tech, USA

Different or unequal? Considering power relations

Existing critiques of ‘successful’ ageing [Katz, Minkler and Holstein, all the stuff I wrote about in K319 LG2 final section] . What happens if you put these critiques together with gender analysis?

Sexualised vulnerable older women in Life Alert ads (call buttons)

Youth based standards of sex. Seeking to show OP have sex too or something ‘just as good’ e.g. non-PIV but still sex. This retains insidious ageism.

Why not see elders’ sex as more valuable? Link w reproduction is broken anyway. More sensual? More pleasure-seeking?

Let old people be old and that be valuable.

Chris Gilleard

Sex in later life: From sex to salvation

Non-sexual nature of later life used to be morally virtuous, because sex was sinful. So a virtuous old age was non-sexual. Inversion of nowadays.

Sexual activity as cause of ageing – using up moisture and heat. Hippocratic theory of humours. Sex is hot and wet (blood and air), ageing is dry and cold (black bile and earth). Continuing influence into the medieval period and up to 17th C

Then 17th C onwards, sex less sinful and less harmful

Harvey’s circulation of blood shows that blood is not used up but continuously circulated so impacts on ideas of sex in old age.

But old ideas continued anyway.

18th C physiology developed, awareness of glands – realisation that sexual activity can be separated from reproduction and that sexual fluids do things other than aid reproduction.

19th C increased regulation of sex. But age related decline in sexual function is noted but not mandated

Lots of interest at turn of twentieth century and early twentieth C in prolonging youth through organotherapy, rejuvenation techniques [like now anti-ageing medicine]

Audience member: presentation blind to gender – it was all about men

CG: could have talked about extract of ova for women in 20th C but before that it was all focused on men.

Ann O’Hanlon

Dundalk, Ireland

Exploring and measuring age-friendliness amongst older people.

Age friendly communities. Dundalk was one of the 35 cities and towns in the 2004 WHO study

Discussion: Ann O’Hanlon’s question: why hasn’t the older people’s movement taken off in the way that feminism did?

Me: because it’s not grass-roots.

Audience member: because of internalised ageism

[I thought: but feminism was partly about excavating internalised sexism through consciousness raising – OP could do that]

Audience member: Group of 50 older feminists, met recently to apply CR techniques to own internalised ageism. But what they are focusing on is supporting one another, not changing the world. Is this something to do with ageing [No! Not if, by that, you mean something inherent to the ageing process]

[Should the question actually be ‘why did the feminist movement succeed (in some ways though obviously not all), when black rights did less well (although don’t forget end of segregation in US), class struggle died with Thatcher / the end of communism in Europe, and other social movements never got off the ground?

What happened to the grey panthers?

There are, at least, activist groups of disabled people.

It is just because the historical moment when movements around identities could make significant impact has passed, because we’ve all (some of us) got so post-modern and fractured in our identities?]

Cassandra Phoenix

Pennisula College

Research design: Attend people’s usual exercise session, take a photo, download to iPad, immediately discuss pictures during interview.

This design proved impractical – turned into too much discussion of the quality of the photos + post exercising participants didn’t want to be interviewed – tired!

So instead researchers selected 8-10 photos and emailed them – look at photos, answer question ‘what is it like to [insert sport]’ then some more prompting questions, including  prompted them to talk about five senses. So got written data in the end.

People didn’t comment on the images very much – tended to do so at end. Whereas researchers intended it to be photo-elicitation. Did caption some photos – doesn’t seem very phenomenological. But actually quite telling, like small stories in identity construction. Captions often about the body rather than life through the body

Some people made references to the pictures in their writing.

Q ‘what it is like to’ was understood as ‘why do you like?’

5th July 2012

Another list of resources: Bisexuality and ageing

Here’s another one I prepared earlier (actually, just now). It’s a handout for the talk I’m giving at the British Society of Gerontology conference at Keele University next week. I’m part of a double symposium on LGBT ageing and I’m talking under the title ‘The disappearing B in LGBT ageing’. I’m not only going to talk about that – for those of you who were at the Critical Sexology Up North seminar in Huddersfield a couple of weeks ago, this paper covers the same kind of ground as that one, but tweaked a little, so this list might also be of interest.

Further reading on bisexuality and ageing

On what is distinctive about bisexuality:

Barker, M., Richards, C., Jones, R., Bowes-Catton, H., Plowman, T., Yockney, J., et al. (2012). The bisexuality report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity: The Open University.

Available here: and elsewhere – just google it.

Guidelines on researching and writing about bisexuality

The guidelines:

Accompanying article:

Barker, M., Yockney, J., Richards, C., Jones, R. L., Bowes-Catton, H., & Plowman, T. (in press, 2012). Guidelines for Researching and Writing about Bisexuality. Journal of Bisexuality, 12.

Empirical studies of bisexuality and ageing

WEINBERG, M. S., WILLIAMS, C. J. & PRYOR, D. W. (2001) Bisexuals at  midlife: Commitment, salience and identity. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 30, 180-208.

JONES, R. L. (2012) Imagining the unimaginable: Bisexual roadmaps for ageing. IN WARD, R., RIVERS, I. & SUTHERLAND, M. (Eds.) Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ageing: Providing effective support through understanding life stories. London, Jessica Kingsley.

JONES, R. L. (2011) Imagining bisexual futures: Positive, non-normative later life Journal of Bisexuality, 11, 245-270.

Speculative literature

(Not empirically-based but suggestions based on evidence about ageing lesbians and gay men and younger bisexual people)

DWORKIN, S. H. (2006) Aging bisexual: The invisible of the invisble minority. IN KIMMEL, D., ROSE, T. & DAVID, S. (Eds.) Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender aging: Research and clinical perspectives. New York,ColumbiaUniversity Press.

FIRESTEIN, B. (Ed.) (2007) Becoming visible: Counseling bisexuals across the lifespan, New York, Columbia University Press.

KEPPEL, B. (2006) Affirmative psychotherapy with older bisexual women and men. Journal of Bisexuality, 6, 85-104.

For ‘Muriel’ case study and general discussion of the disappearing bisexual:

Jones, R. L. (2010). Troubles with bisexuality in health and social care. In R. L. Jones & R. Ward (Eds.), LGBT issues: Looking beyond categories (pp. 42-55).Edinburgh:Dunedin Academic Press.

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