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The Ageing of British Gerontology: learning from the past to inform the future

Research Team: Prof Miriam Bernard (Keele University), Prof Mo Ray (University of Lincoln), Dr Jackie Reynolds (Keele University)

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and supported by both the British Society of Gerontology (BSG) and the Centre for Policy on Ageing (CPA), this two-year (2015-17) mixed method study has explored the evolution of gerontology in the UK since the establishment of the BSG in 1971. 

Filmed, in-depth biographical interviews with 50 senior British gerontologists have been contextualised by an examination of the BSG’s archives. Archival analyses focus on the development of BSG conferences from 1971-2015, on issues of Generations Review: the BSG’s newsletter, and have been written up into a decade-by-decade narrative drawing out key research themes and topics, as well as methodological and theoretical developments. These materials have contributed to the compilation of a research and policy chronology (post WW2) and we photographed key documents and collated them into an electronic exhibition.

Working closely with Sukey Parnell – gerontologist, photographer and artist – and with WatsOn Media Productions Ltd, we have also produced a range of other creative outputs. Sukey’s professional portraits of our interviewees are central to an electronic photographic exhibition; a ‘newspaper broadsheet’ type publication featuring the images, project and participant information, and quotations from the interviews; a set of six postcards of the images; and banners, selected foamboard mounted images, and a full set of 12 x 10 prints for display purposes. These can be accessed on the project’s homepage at

The filmed interviews have been edited into a series of eight short thematic films. The main outputs are available on the project website (, via Keele University’s You Tube channel and through the British Society of Gerontology.

Hard copies of the newspaper are still available free of charge and the whole exhibition (which also includes postcards, individual prints and display banners) is available on loan to other institutions and organisations. Please contact Professor Bernard at if you would like further details.