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Message from the President of BSG
Judith Phillips

Happy New Year!

Every time I prepare my report for GR and see ‘Message from the President’ as the title I’m tempted to ‘google’ great speeches and sermons from Churchill, JFK, Martin Luther King, Obama and others. As you’ll notice I’ve not gone down this route! I hope though that you will feel inspired this year to get involved with the BSG as we move forward on our 5 year strategy.

The BSG has always faced challenges, whether they be financial, relate to membership numbers or just the fact that we never have enough people to do all the things we want to achieve as a society. Given the cuts facing universities and the public sector this is a crucial time for us as a learned society to ensure we are an essential and active part of the wider social sciences academy. The Academy of Social Sciences is actively pursuing an agenda to promote social science in government. An aspect of my role this year will be to represent BSG through AcSS; we are currently in discussion with the secretariat to develop joint activities, not just in showcasing our work through a joint publication but widening the public debate on the social implications of an ageing society.

With the General Election just around the corner it is also urgent for us to further our 5 year strategy - to network with key people in government and the research councils and to inform them of the considerable contribution our members make to the knowledge economy, society and culture of the UK. Collectively we have to ensure that our voice is heard in consultations, particularly in relation to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee and through the UK Ageing Research Forum.  We are represented on the latter through the British Council on Ageing and we are in discussion about strengthening our activities and providing more support to the BCA.

Raising the visibility of the BSG is a key aspect of our new strategy. Members who attended the Gerontological Society of America conference in Atlanta this year will have certainly contributed to this aim. I would like to take the opportunity of thanking all those who attended and represented the BSG at the meeting and particular thanks to Dr. Kate Davidson who organised a superb social event. Our presence through our numbers was certainly noticed.

The strategy is not only about increasing visibility and linking with other organisations it is also ensuring that everyone on the executive has a clear role and area of responsibility to take the BSG forward. The new executive committee met in the autumn to set the budget for different work groups and activities central to the implementation of the strategy. For details of all of these matters please see our website (members only section), where the minutes and actions of the executive can be downloaded. In addition you will find a copy of BSG responses to a number of consultations (REF; House of Lords). Our executive meetings this year will be held on 29th January; 16th April, 5th July and 8th October – please let us know if there are any issues you wish discussed at these meetings.

Society activities are well documented in other reports and issues of GR but I just wish to highlight some of the forthcoming conferences supported directly by BSG. ERA goes from strength to strength organising its 2010 conference at UEA Norwich. We are grateful to Kathleen Lane for organising this conference and look forward to travelling East this year for the event (22-23rd April). Immediately before (on the 21st) we will have another seminar with our Australian colleagues via our webinair link. Other conferences include the IAGG (European Social Research section) in Swansea July 1-3rd immediately preceding the annual BSG conference in Brunel in July.

My thanks as always to Rachel Hazelwood, Debora Price and Wendy Martin as well as the executive team for their continuing support and encouragement and their sheer hard work in making the BSG a vibrant society. We all look forward to working on your behalf in 2010 to develop and promote the interests of research, policy and practice in ageing through the BSG.

With very best wishes,

Judith

 

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