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This issue of Generations Review has a number of items to acknowledge 40 years of the British Society of Gerontology. In addition to our current issue, we have re-published the very first issue of Generations Review from the summer of 1985. You’ll find it here:


Now come along with me while we celebrate, reminisce and look forward to the years ahead!

In addition to our regular features in News and Reviews I would first like to draw your attention to the report on this year’s annual conference in Plymouth. If you’ve not already heard, we had a wonderful 3 days in Plymouth. The report provides a flavour of the activities, but have a look at the pictures too! You will see that the many exciting guests and participants from around the globe, coupled with splendid surroundings, made for an eventful 3 days. Similarly, the reports from the students who received conference bursaries provides details of their highlights. In addition, we feature the launch of BSG’s first Think Piece, by Simon Evans, with ILC-UK. And we are also pleased to be publishing a review on Bill Bytheway’s latest book Unmasking Age, Policy Press. This is splendid timing given Bill has been a longstanding supporter of the British Society of Gerontology and was instrumental in the Society’s development from the early days.

Moving along, the Who’s Who section features Sarah Arber. Sarah, along with Chris Phillipson and Tony Warnes, received an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Plymouth conference. For those of you who don’t know Sarah, here’s an opportunity to learn a little about what has contributed to her very successful career.

We are delighted to feature some very interesting reports in Cutting Edge. First, the plenary speakers from the Plymouth Conference have provided a summary of their address. Christina Victor starts us off with a review of 40 years of BSG. This is an interesting overview for someone new to gerontology, but likely very familiar to many of our other readers. Andrew Achenbaum recounts his admiration of Robert Butler, an international leader in gerontology and geriatric medicine, who died last year. Finally, Norah Keating reviews her work (with many British colleagues) to explore the value of older age. We also have an interesting research summary from colleagues in Austria, Sabine Coelsch-Foisner and Sarah Herbe, who consider Life Extension and (Non-) Ageing in Speculative Literature, Theatre and Art.

Following on, four of our Founding Fellows provide their reflections on the last 40 years of British gerontology and their thoughts about the next. Many thanks to Bill Bytheway, Chris Phillipson, Anthea Tinker and Tony Warnes for taking a historical and sometimes wide angled lense to consider our achievements and our challenges – as Chris Phillipson states:

...social gerontology will certainly be changed by the interaction between new cohorts of older people on the one side and a changed political economy on the other. Research into ageing was given a particular shape by a (relatively) homogenous group of older people and assumptions about the steady growth of a welfare state. Neither will be characteristic of the future and this will raise complex issues concerning both the ‘subject’ and ‘object’ of research into ageing. Social gerontology will have to cope with the absence of an obvious ‘centre’ which can bring together all the disciplines and interests it seeks to represent. This will not eclipse the value of the enterprise; rather, it will require more creative thinking about ageing really means.

Paul Chamberlain tells us about the Lab4Living at Sheffield Hallam University in the Learning Zone. Professor Chamberlain describes the multi-discipline research initiative between design and health and the use of user workshops to inform their work. John McCormack in the World at Large shares his thoughts on the Australian government’s initiative to develop options to redesign an aged care system, underpinned by ‘choice’ and ‘independence’.

Our issue draws to a conclusion with reflections on 40 years of marriage by Billy Cairns in Voices of Experience. Finally, in Coffee Break take a look at the movie reviews – ‘Salt of Life’ and ‘A Separation’ – both featuring ageing and older age.

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