I presented a paper last Friday at the British Society of Gerontology 2012 Annual Conference. I have to say that it was one of the best conferences I have been too in my career and this was for several reasons. Firstly the two keynote speakers gave excellent, thought provoking presentations. Professor Toni Calasanti provided a theoretical framing for the consideration of age relations as power relations and Professor Murna Downs provided a critical perspective on dementia and problematised the way society currently views it. There were also several paper sessions that provided a range of critical perspectives on ageing from the methodological to the theoretical. What struck me in particular is that an awareness of austerity and ageing in austerity was an important theme explored by the conference presenters, highlighting the vital role of gerontologists in bringing vital attention to ageing in contemporary societies.
Another reason the conference was so beneficial and enjoyable was that I met several people whose work I have been engaging with, or who I have been in contact with, either via Email or Twitter. I met several Twitter followers including Mark Hawker and Fiona MacKichan and really experienced the benefits of my networking online. I also met Professor Gavin Andrews whose work I have been reading.
My favourite meet was with Robin Hadley who I have been in touch with regularly in the past couple of years. We hadn’t met until the conference but have shared interests in the study of ageing masculinities. He is currently recruiting for his project on childless older men who wanted to be a dad. If you know of anyone who would be interested in taking part and fulfils this criteria, you can learn more about his project here and should get in touch.