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Editorial
Another year is upon us, and it is an exciting 2011 for the Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies (BIAS) team as we begin our new editorial role for GR.
We hope to continue the Society’s longstanding tradition of keeping the BSG membership abreast of research and practice developments in the field of ageing studies. Before I introduce the new team and share with you some of the changes to GR, I would first like to thank the previous editors, Wendy Martin, Veronika Williams, Samuel Nyman and Christina Victor, for their impressive work over the last four years. Wendy and team played a very important role in the transition of GR to its on-line format, and successfully created a cost effective method to disseminate BSG news in our financially challenging times.

Now let me briefly introduce the BIAS team. Working with me for the next few years is a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues who have a range of interests in ageing research and practice ranging from assistive technology to geriatric mental health to medical ethics and decision-making to elder abuse and caregiving:
• Eleanor van den Heuvel, Bioengineering
• Felicity Jewitt, Bioengineering
• Ben Liu, Health and Social Care
• Mary Gilhooly, Executive Director, BIAS
• Deborah Cairns, Health and Social Care
Consistent with the changes to the BSG website, GR has also undergone a few modifications to try and capture your varied interests. In addition to the regular features and other minor format changes, we have developed three new sections. These include:
(1) The World at Large – aimed to capture developments in ageing in other parts of the world;
(2) Voices of Experience – an opportunity for older people and/or carers to share expressions (e.g. stories, photos, poetry, humour) about the meaning of ageing, older age and caring; and
(3) Coffee Break – this is just a lighter touch to make your coffee/tea break a bit more enjoyable.

Go ahead, have a read, and see what you think! We look forward to your comments and submissions for all our features, and detailed information on the submission process is on the website. Or, simply contact us at gr@brunel.ac.uk.

In this issue we present a range of interesting reading. In addition to recent messages from our President, Mim Bernard, and our Honorary Secretary, Wendy Martin, New & Reviews features a range of commentaries. We have reports on the BSG annual conference from the 2010 student bursary award winners, a report on this year’s Gerontological Society of America Conference held in the multi-cultural New Orleans, and a report on a recent conference that addressed the multitude of issues and innovations around continence. In addition, we have an exciting invitation from BSG/ILC-UK to write ‘Think Pieces’ on a range of topics relevant to longevity. The aim of the ‘Think Pieces’ is to support the BSG/ILC-UK’s collaborative work to influence decision-making at Westminster. I am pleased to inform you that Simon Evan’s (University of the West of England and BSG Executive member) ‘Think Piece’ entitled, Climate Change and Sustainable Public Services, is due for publication on the ILC-UK website shortly (www.ilcuk.org.uk).

This issue’s profile or Who’s Who is Arlene Astell. You will notice a slightly different style of presenting our esteemed colleagues and members using short questions. One important question in this format is, ‘What’s the future for ageing research?’ I am sure you would agree that this is extremely relevant in terms of our global community, tough economic times and gains in life expectancy. In fact, Professor Astell answers this question with a question, “How do we want to live the 2 or 3 decades that follow retirement?”

Research features in this issue include Barbara Berkman’s review of gerontological social work research – a flourishing area in North America. We are delighted that this distinguished scholar from Columbia University agreed to write for us following her participation in the BSG conference last July. This follows with two articles from Sue Paulson and Cara Willig (City University) on how dance and music affect older people. This creative work is based on Sue Paulson’s PhD research completed prior to her death last year. Finally, Jo-Anne Bichard and Gail Knight from the Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre present an interesting overview of environmental barriers impacting on continence and the recent development of a ‘toilet map’. We conclude Cutting Edge with four abstracts on recently completed PhD’s.

In Learning Zone we have a report from Mo Ray on last July’s international summer school held at Keele University. These short summer schools (plus English holiday) appear to be very appealing for our international colleagues, and congratulations to Keele University on their success.

In World at Large we have a thought provoking review of ageing in Jordan by Sahar Al-Makhamreh, Fadia Hasna and Eman Al-Khateeb. More recently, our Jordanian colleagues have been involved in a number of strategic initiatives (including a National Strategy for Senior Citizens) to address ageing and older people in Jordan. Their review draws our attention to significant issues (not too dissimilar to our own) in relation to migration, health inequalities, gender, family care, formal service provision, educating geriatric specialists in social work, medicine and nursing, and social stigma. They also touch on some of the specific cultural and religious values that are relevant as they address the aforementioned.

Our first ever Voices of Experience features a few submissions from the author, John Bell Smithback. We would like to thank John for getting us going, and we hope that others will be keen to send in their thoughts and expressions too. And finally, Coffee Break – well, just put the kettle on (if you haven’t already done so), have a stretch, and keep reading!

Thank you to all those who generously contributed to Volume 21, No. 1! We appreciate your efforts and your support to maintain GR’s vibrant knowledge exchange. And, please do get in touch with all your written thoughts.
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