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Welcome from the President

Dear Colleagues

It is my privilege to serve as President of the British Society of Gerontology. I am keen to build on the work of past Presidents and Executive Committee members to help steer the Society through some of the notable challenges that lie ahead.

What unites BSG members is our shared interest in understanding ageing and the life course and a commitment to promoting wellbeing in later life. The fact that we draw our members from a wide range of groups is one of the Society’s key strengths. In politically uncertain times, however, BSG is challenged to respond to the manifold pressures faced by people engaged in different spheres of society. In higher education, where members experience the daily pressures of increasing workloads and the growing precarity of academic employment, especially at early career stages, BSG offers an intellectually engaging space where members can benefit from the networks of advice, mentorship and support that can sustain an academic career. In policy and practice, the Society can provide access to timely evidence and ideas that can help to shape policies and inform practices that will increase older people’s wellbeing. These are things that BSG has always done well and where we can continue to improve.

 

As a Society, we can also do better to harness emerging opportunities to raise awareness of members’ knowledge and expertise and shape the ageing agenda. We have a lot to contribute. Over the coming years, for example, there will be increasing demand from industry and commerce for insights from people who are knowledgeable about current and future trends in ageing populations. Similarly, research, policy and practice is also likely to draw more heavily on direct engagement with older people themselves. Social gerontologists are well positioned to facilitate the necessary connections with diverse groups of older citizens. BSG can be at the heart of activity linked to such opportunities. And we can extend the Society’s expertise by drawing in new members from the burgeoning field of cultural gerontology, reflecting the importance of arts and humanities disciplines in terms of understanding ageing and the life course.

 

Our Society is driven by its members. Through our successful annual conferences and other events, the Emerging Researchers on Ageing network, the work of a growing number of Special Interest Groups, our regional branches, our active partnerships with key age-sector organisations, and our publications, there are many ways in which members can be actively involved in shaping BSG. Please make use of these opportunities and help to ensure that, as a learned society, we continue to provide a stimulating space for critical debate on core themes relating to ageing and the life course.

 

With best wishes

 

Thomas Scharf

 

Professor of Social Gerontology
President, British Society of Gerontology

Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University