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Wendy Martin, Samuel R. Nyman, Christina Victor and Veronika Williams

Hi everyone,

This is a key milestone for Generations Review online, as after 4 years of our editorship, this is the final issue that we will be editing. It is also the final issue formatted by Rachel Pitman, our website manager, who is also leaving her post. As a team we would like to thank all our BSG members and colleagues for their support and encouragement – in particular those of you who have contributed to and read our online newsletter.  We have greatly enjoyed working with you all.  We are especially delighted that so many of our articles in this issue reflect the many excellent papers, symposia, workshops and keynote addresses originating from the 39th Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology, Brunel University, July 2010.

First in the news and reviews section there are reviews of the BSG Brunel 2010 conference from an international perspective (Linda Peach) as well as the BSG-ERA pre-conference workshop Writing Successful Research Proposals with key tips for success illuminated (Sue Venn). There is a copy of the speech given by Judith Phillips at the Westminster launch of our impact brochure: Making the Case for the Social Sciences – Ageing (that was originally launched at BSG Brunel 2010). The reports of the progress of the ESRC New Dynamics of Ageing funding programme, the Older People’s Forums, BSG Scotland and updates of the work of the Executive Committee illustrate the commitment of our members to ageing studies.

In our research section this issue we are proud to host papers from our 4 keynote speakers who presented at the Society’s conference in July this year at Brunel University, West London.

1) Professor Helen Bartlett and Matthew Carroll provide a reflection on the past decade of Australia’s efforts to build capacity in ageing research. They note familiar challenges and highlight the successes of the ARC/NHMRC Research Network in Ageing Well, Emerging Researchers in Ageing initiative (ERA), and the National Dementia Initiative.

2) Professor Anne Martin-Matthews highlights the importance of time. Through data collected as part of the Canadian Nexus Home Care Project, she presents how home support workers’ time is being compressed and the detrimental implications this has for both staff and the older people in receipt of these services.

3) Professor Fiona Ross highlights the benefits of more actively involving older people in the research process. While user involvement challenges our traditional relationship with participants and demands new skills, Professor Ross provides examples of how new partnerships with older people can greatly enrich the quality of the research.

4) Professor Julia Twigg argues for the place of a critical analysis of the body in social gerontology. For example, a critical view on clothes identifies them as “central to how older bodies are experienced, presented and understood within culture”.

We also feature a research paper by Sue Venn and colleagues that presents key findings from two elements of the NDA-funded Sleep in Ageing (SomnIA) research project. The article highlights how views on sleep are intertwined with expectations of ageing and desires for an active later life, and that care home practices can lead to disrupted sleep patterns for residents.

The health of our discipline is, amongst other things, dependent upon the development of new scholars interested in all matters gerontological. The three articles from the ERA  group demonstrate that we can be optimistic about the future of our discipline. The contributions from emerging researchers from Australia and in the US illustrate the international links of our ERA group and bode well for the development of collaborative research, teaching and career development opportunities. The  BSG-ERA group has a wide remit, and it is invidious to single one element out. However the support and mentorship function of the group is especially important when emerging gerontology researchers may be scattered across the country. Having a group that specifically aims to being together and support individuals seeking to develop a career in ageing research can only be for the good of our discipline.

Emergent and more established researchers and academics will also find the article by Alison Shaw, Director of Policy Press, useful, accessible and informative. This piece originated from the highly successful ‘meet the editor’ session at BSG Brunel 2010. We would definitely recommend that everyone interested in submitting a book proposal reads this first.

Research focussing upon policy and practice continues to characterise an important aspect of the work of BSG members. In this edition we have two featured articles reporting research activities in the field of policy and practice which demonstrate the range of work within this field. Brendan McCormack, from the University of Ulster, reports welcome developments in Ireland in terms of models of care for working with older people. This piece also illustrates the health of gerontological work across the island of Ireland. John Miles, in his contribution,  looks at the broad topic of public engagement of social science research and the evaluation of the benefit of such initiatives. Again this piece charts the broad range of activities that characterise the BSG membership and is illustrative of our broader aim of engaging with older people (and the population more broadly) in developing and promoting gerontological research.

As always, we would like to thank all of our excellent contributors for their time, enthusiasm and willingness to provide material. We are also keen to hear from any of our BSG colleagues who would like to write about their own areas of interest. The dynamic and cutting edge nature of the newsletter is reliant on everyone’s efforts. Naturally all contributions reflect the author’s own views and not that of the Society.

Our final role is to wish the new editorial team, led by Dr Mary Pat Sullivan, Brunel University every success as they take over the newsletter in 2011.  We hope you enjoy and gain from the experience as much as we did, BSG members are a delight to work with.  If you would like to contribute to future newsletters please contact the new editorial team at britishgerontology@yahoo.co.uk.

Thank you and very best wishes to you all,

Wendy Martin, Samuel Nyman, Veronika Williams and Christina Victor.

Co-editors Generations Review

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