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Educational Gerontology

Learning in later life is an under-valued and under-resourced aspect of the experience of ageing. Likewise the teaching of gerontology has diminished in the UK. The Educational Gerontology SIG aims to raise the profile of lifelong and later life learning, and of gerontology, through events and opportunities for discussion and action.

BSG Special Interest Group for Educational Gerontology

9:00 - 11:00, Thursday 2nd July, 2020

The recording of this session is now available to view on our Ageing Bites channel.

9am – 9.05am Settling in/introductions

Part one: keynote - race, ethnicity, ageing and education

9.05 am - 9.45 am Race Matters in Gerontology, Dr Nilufar Ahmed, University of Bristol and discussant (with additional material) Dr Karan Jutlla, University of Wolverhampton


Part two symposium - uncharted territory: learning in later life at a time of change

9.50am Ageing Well in times of transition Dr Jitka Vseteckova, Open University

10.05am Informal adult learning as key to spiritual development in later life Dr Joanna Walker, University of Southampton

10.20am Gerogogy: the case for a theory and practice of teaching and learning in later life Dr John Miles, Kilburn Older Voices Exchange


Part three: learning in practice

10.40am Learning and development towards the end-of-life: reflections on the care home setting Rob Hunter, Learning for the Fourth Age


Dr Nilufar Ahmed is a lecturer in social sciences at Bristol University and a trustee and psychotherapist with Help! Counselling in Bristol. Her work lies at the intersection of psychology, sociology, and geography. She has been working with migrant and marginalised groups for over two decades across England and Wales.

Rob Hunter was formerly a community education advisor, manager and trainer working in Leicestershire, Birmingham and higher education. For the last 12 years in retirement he has worked, through being a trustee of Learning for the Fourth Age and chair of Leicester Ageing Together, with older people in care homes and in multicultural communities.

Dr Karan Jutlla’s research interests in the challenge of dementia within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities have spanned nearly a decade. Her doctoral study researched experiences of caring for a family member with dementia for Sikhs living in Wolverhampton, highlighting challenges with access to, and experience of, health and social care services and linking such experiences strongly to experiences as migrants in the UK.  Karan is now the Dementia Lead for the University of Wolverhampton, responsible for the development and delivery of curricula and research, promoting the development of a culturally competent workforce skilled in dementia care.

Dr John Miles is a community development worker and convenor of the Special Interest Group for Educational Gerontology. He completed a doctoral study of the intergenerational initiatives of Manchester City Council at Keele University in 2014. He is a trustee of the Association for Education and Ageing and the voluntary research associate for Kilburn Older Voices Exchange in London.

Dr Jitka Vseteckova is a Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Health and Social Care in the Open University. Her role is multi-faceted and involves research, teaching, supervision and external collaborations to develop the evidence base in several areas of health and social care.  Jitka is passionate about creating bridges between research and actual research impact in communities. 

Dr Joanna Walker has recently completed doctoral studies on spirituality and later life at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Southampton University. This follows a career in adult education focusing on older learners which included health education, retirement preparation, and spiritual learning. A common thread has been a passion for older people’s continuing development.


Aims & Objectives:

We aim to promote research and debate on a wide range of issues including: 

  • The factors associated with activity and development in adulthood and later life;
  • The impact of age on engagement in different forms of learning (formal and informal);
  • The impact of different forms of learning on the ageing process, on wellbeing in later life, and on civic engagement;
  • Learning initiatives and activities for older learners in different cultural settings and countries;
  • The role of intergenerational exchange in learning and sharing knowledge in later life;
  • The role of older adults in educational policy making;
  • Learning and teaching about gerontology
  • The political economies of educational gerontology and gerontological education and the case for investment and structural development.


Please see box below for the details of the next SIG meeting on Thursday 2nd July. 

The group held a meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne on 12th March 2019 - a report on the various discussions at that meeting is available below.  

Educational Gerontology also submitted comments in response to the call for contributions to the investigations of Adult Education 100, the 1919 Centenary Commission on recommendations for adult education in the century ahead. Our submission can be found below

The group held a joint seminar with the BSG SIG for Technology and Ageing on November 22nd 2019 at the Institute for Mental Health, University of Nottingham. A report of the event can be found here: equality-caused-by-services-moving-online/


Membership of the Educational Gerontology SIG is open to all.

Contact John Miles for more information about the SIG, meetings, or the BSG events.

The Educational Gerontology SIG has emerged from a collaboration between BSG members of the Association for Education and Ageing (AEA), the Ransackers Association (RA), and Conversation into Action (CiA).