How environments affect us as we age.

Wed 6th Sep 2017

SURF room, Fulton House, Singleton Campus, Swansea University
Wednesday 6th September 2017 from 1.30 -3.00pm


How do we relate to the environment around us as we age? Traditionally it was thought that the way we build our environment influences our behaviour.  This is now believed to be only partly true; we co-construct our environment as much as being passive recipients of it. However, how much involvement we have in shaping our environment depends upon a number of social factors and people can be socially excluded or isolated from their neighbourhood or community, potentially leading to isolation and loneliness. This seminar will introduce 4 short talks, followed by a discussion, with PhD students, all examining relationship between people as they age and their environment.

Neighbourhood research: changing spaces and places. Aled Singleton –  will discuss how  neighbourhood spaces change and how wider place identity is fluid through the lifecourse, examining people’s connections, feelings and emotions towards places they live in.

Mobility and transport. Amy Murray –  will discuss the importance of being mobile in later life, examining how people traverse place and the importance of driving in later life and how giving-up driving may have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. The importance of informal support networks in maintaining mobility and wellbeing after giving-up driving is explored.

Older People with Mobility Aids. Allyson Rogers -  will discuss what mobility aids are, what differences might occur to lifestyle when using a mobility aid and outline her research into examining mobility aids. She stresses that people who use mobility aids are rarely asked what they need so gathering their views is vital. 

Dementia supportive communities. Aelwyn Williams –  will discuss what is happening in terms of supporting people living with dementia at a community level, examining power relationships in local organisations and groups. His talk will also examine the role of space and place in his research practice, with reference to the recent Welsh Government consultation on creating a Dementia Friendly Wales, and how specific types of citizenship and community are being shaped by such strategies. 

Biographies of Speakers

Aled Singleton: Aled’s work considers the crossovers between the fields of place-making [human geography, architecture, planning and urban design] and gerontology and his chosen research site at a neighbourhood level. Hi PhD research is an urban ethnography to consider well-being as people develop a relationship and attachment to place over their lifecourse. Through the use of maps, historical documents, contemporary psycho-geographic writing and walk-along interviews mixed methods are intended to help society make sense of how people emotionally relate to, and negotiate, their local neighbourhoods; for example streets, green spaces, shops and public spaces.
The fieldwork will take a life-course approach to consider the relationships between place and health. The intention is to work closely with community-based organisations and artists who want to take a lead in making places age-friendly for their own localities. 
Aled has spent a decade working in local government, working on community and urban regeneration projects. Aled is Vice President of the Swansea University Postgraduate Research [PGR] Society. The PGR Society is holding a 2-day conference debating how society negotiates going 'cyber': 11 & 12 September - http://www.swansea.ac.uk/law/events/cnc17/ 

Amy Murray – Amy completed her undergraduate degree in Social Policy at Swansea University in 2011, followed by her Master’s in Gerontology. Aside from her academic commitments, Amy worked for the Department for Work and Pensions whilst studying for both degrees. Amy’s employment was specifically related to State Pensions and retirement decisions. In pursuit of further developing her academic career, Amy began her PhD in Social Gerontology in 2015. Her research covers her interest in later life transitions, shifting from retirement to a focus upon the process of driving cessation amongst older adults and their informal support networks. Amy has contributed towards teaching modules including ageing studies and qualitative research methods. Additionally, Amy has also undertaken work with the Campaign to End Loneliness. 

Aelwyn Williams: Before embarking on his PhD, Aelwyn has had over ten years’ worth of experience as a researcher involved in evaluation, social and health policy research, with a variety of academic and non-academic research organisations. He worked as a qualitative researcher on the Cognitive Functioning and Ageing ( CFAS) Wales  project at Swansea University between 2012-15, specifically looking at the health and mental health literacy of older people living with chronic conditions. Along with other colleagues, last year he completed a short evaluation of the Dementia Supportive Communities strand of Ageing Well in Wales for the Older People’s Commissioner, which acted as catalyst for his current PhD.

Aelwyn is primarily a qualitative researcher with a background of working in several policy fields, often using mixed methods, and is used to managing and analysing large datasets, using a variety of analytic tools. This gerontology-focussed PhD is enabling him to develop his previous interests in the bio-political, governmentality studies, aspects of community participation and development and citizenship, as well as in how various ageing discourses are shaping societal conduct generally. 

He works bilingually where possible, and has a background as both a teacher and translator in the Basque Country, where he used to live and work. He has also worked for many years linking both the voluntary and media sectors through Pawb Cyf, a not-for-profit consultancy. He is a long-standing trustee of both Inroads and Adferiad Cyf, the former a drug and alcohol charity based in the heart of Cardiff, and the latter a new venture between Inroads, the Swansea-based mental health charity Hafal, and Cais, a drug and alcohol charity from North Wales. 

Allyson Rogers: Allyson is conducting a PhD at Swansea University in the Centre for Innovative Ageing. Allyson previously obtained her degree in Psychology and Criminology  and MSc in Social Research Methods at Swansea. Her main interests are the way bodies change as we age, how we adapt to those changes, and more importantly, whether society and the environment encompass these changes or exclude people who do not meet a prescribed expectation of a ‘normal body’. In line with this, her studies investigate the use of mobility aids such as walking sticks and wheelchairs to understand how well the environment is designed to incorporate their use.

Outside of studying, she is married, has two adult children and a dog who rules the roost! She knits avidly and enjoys baking.  


We regret that only disabled visitors are allowed to park on the university campus and there is only limited parking close to the University. There is usually space available for visitors in the Recreation Ground Car Park on Mumbles Road which is directly adjacent to the Swansea University campus (see below for directions).  The parking fee is approximately £2.00 for the day. The postcode is SA2 8PP and here are some more detailed directions http://www.swansea.ac.uk/the-university/location/directions/ The SURF room is located on the 1st floor of Fulton House (building 17 on the Singleton Campus map from this link)

If you are interested in attending  please email cadr@swansea.ac.uk or call  01792 295099

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