I am employed at Centre for Healthy Ageing – an interdisciplinary research centre focusing on the challenges of an ageing society. I am part of the program Innovation and Dissemination in which we focus on the cultural anthropological aspects of healthy ageing, working together with disciplines ranging from neurologists to epidemiologists to sociologists. - I am part of the interdisciplinary innovation partnership No Age. In the sub-partnership The Meeting Place we try to develop innovative welfare technologies for communities of elderly persons, and technologies that can facilitate meetings and be part of creating communities for the elderly. I conduct ethnographic fieldwork on activity centres and in the homes of elderly persons, which is used as user insights in the innovation process.
- This fieldwork I also use for my Ph.D.-project. The project is called Technologies and Communities for the active elderly. I focus on how notions of activity and community are used and practiced at activity centres for elderly. Ideas of prevention through exercise and extending ‘time left’ are ways of organizing and creating communities. The ‘in common’ of the community is age (time lived) and an expectation of extending ‘time left’ through communal activities. Thus, ‘time left’ and ‘time lived’ are substantial parts of these communities. I use technology as everything from information technology to ‘a way of doing something’. With this I also see community as a technology, i.e. as ‘a way of being together’.
- My background is in European ethnology and anthropology.
I am a sociologist based at the Institute of Public Health in Cambridge. My PhD, completed at Goldsmiths, London in 2009, was structured around an ethnographic study of community mental health professionals based in an inner-city borough. Here in Cambridge I am currently engaged in implementing a further small scale, effectively one-person qualitative research project. This takes as its focus a large ongoing population-based, scientific study around genetic and lifestyle factors associated with diabetes and obesity.
There are clearly great differences between these two research landscapes. Yet in each, notions of community and time have played a major role – both in terms of various actors’ explicit articulations of what they are about, and my doubtless often quixotic attempts to discern fresh patterns and insights from their interaction. Despite each concept being taken as the target of philosophical unpacking over recent decades, I have the sense that both time and community are often still too often take-for-granted as self-evident parameters of analysis within much contemporary social science. Whereas a consistent thread within my own thinking involves following the lead of writers like Whitehead and Bergson in probing and destabilising such assumptions, particularly in the case of time.
This is one reason why I’m excited by the coupling of the two notions in the title of the workshop and their problematisation as its theme. I’m intrigued by the formatting of the event and the opportunities presented for the cross-fertilisation of ideas. Manchester in June – who wouldn’t be up for it!
Paul's Lightning Talk
Fiona Shirani (Cardiff University)
I have recently completed my PhD on the ‘right time’ for fatherhood, which takes a temporal approach to fertility decision-making. In addition to evaluation of new and existing techniques for the elicitation and analysis of temporal data, the thesis takes forward discussion of concepts used in temporal theory, such as notions of gendered time. The thesis was undertaken alongside my research work on the ‘Men-as-Fathers’ project at Cardiff University, part of the UK-wide qualitative longitudinal network Timescapes, which aims to foreground the importance of temporal study.
Alongside my continuing involvement in Timescapes, I am currently conducting a theoretical review of concepts related to community-level strengths and their impact on health and wellbeing, which is part of a broader review funded under the AHRC Connected Communities research programme. From August 2011 I will be employed on an ESRC funded research project ‘Energy Biographies’ which seeks to explore the formation, embeddedness and development of energy practices as part of everyday life and the life-course. One of the study’s aims is to develop improved understandings of which different community configurations can provide a strong basis for transition in everyday energy consumption and practices when framed around people’s biographies. As part of this work, I will be building on my existing understanding of temporal study and applying relevant concepts to the community context.
Lee Gregory - Cardiff University
I am a PhD student at Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences. Prior to this I have been a community worker involved in a range of local community strategies and initiatives within the constituency. My current research explores the uses of community currencies to develop co-production in community health care initiatives. The form of currency being used is time-based and it is from my interest in community development and my interest in the application of the social theory of time to time banking (as a local currency) that I approach this workshop.
This workshop seems to build on the current understanding that time remains under-theorised in our conceptions of community and community practice. The workshop provides an opportunity to bring time into theoretical and practical considerations of community. The integration of time and community will require that we reposition our theories of community, participation, well-being, policy and welfare; but needs to be guided by analysis of how time is used. Time-based practices alter our relationships to our communities (through inclusion and exclusion), towards institutions, how we organise social relationship and how we value activities. The workshop offers an opportunity to engage in some of these key discussions from across academia to consider how the use of time shapes our community lives, institutions and activities: to consider how time exchanges develop different approaches to cohesion and become a resource of community regeneration, health and well-being.
Lee's Pecha Kucha Presentation
During my time at Sheffield Hallam University (Centre for Education and Inclusion Research) I have been involved in a variety of research projects broadly connected with the wellbeing of young people and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities (regarding health inequalities, health related education/services, and so on). As a Sociologist, I am particularly interested in the social influences on wellbeing (e.g. experiences of heterosexism and homophobia, perceptions of ‘belonging’ and ‘acceptance’, etc.), and specifically the relationship between sexual identities and perceptions and experiences of ‘community’, and the implications of this for health and wellbeing. Within this, changing experiences over time become important: growing (legal) equality in the UK for LGBT communities contrasts starkly with experiences among older LGBT groups who may have experienced criminalisation and/or ‘treatment’ for their sexual identity and/or practices. How do these historical contexts (still) affect people’s ongoing identity development and expression, their wider wellbeing / ‘quality of life’, and the development and experience of ‘community’ and ‘connectivity’ more generally (including political activism, ‘scene’ spaces, and forms of social support)? I am interested in exploring these ideas with regard to broader social wellbeing – which my lightning talk will address – and within the context of wider debates about socio-cultural change, community connectivities, and temporal belongings.
Slides from Eleanor's Lightning Talk
In addition to being a theme four member within CRESC I have also been involved in a group exploring issues of spacing, timing and organizing since 1999. This group has a keen interest in how ideas of repetition and difference and stability and change are conceptualised and in recent years there has been more of an emphasis on ideas of images and signs in relation to space and time. In particular, I am interested in how we understand intensities, affect, assemblages and acts of engagement with regards to the process and practices of organizing. My empirical research has been conducted within mental health care in order to explore certain information practices, standards and forms of organizing, as well as a national newspaper printing factory.