Skip to main content

Experiencing a digital world in later life

Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) is a multi-methodological research project that brings together researchers and institutional and community partners to address the transformation of the experiences of ageing with the proliferation of new forms of mediated communications in networked societies. ACT is comprised of researchers, students, and community and institutional partners from around the world. Together, we are investigating how ‘digital ageism’ – the individual and systemic biases that create forms of inclusion and exclusion that are age-related – operates in subtle ways at this time. Through our collective and collaborative research, we provide an analysis that comes from our engagement with individuals and communities of elders and suggest strategies for change.

It is a critical and exciting moment to embark on new ways of understanding the intersection of ageing and digital technologies. The world’s population is ageing. One in four people are expected to be over the age of 65 in the next two decades, making ‘the senior citizen’ the largest demographic group in the Western World. At the same time that we are expected to live longer, there has been a proliferation of digital devices, information technologies and mediated systems of communication that network populations globally. How ageing populations, and those in later life, are experiencing a world that is increasingly mediated by the proliferation of digital devices is the primary focus of our research project.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Wendy Martin - I am a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Health Sciences at Brunel University London. I am a sociologist and qualitative researcher with a focus on health, ageing, care and the use of creative methods. My background has included clinical nursing, research fellow and lecturer roles, and I have worked in several universities in the UK. I completed a BSc in Sociology and Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University (1997); and an MA in Sociological Research in Health Care (1999) and a PhD in Sociology (2008) both from the University of Warwick. The focus of my teaching is on the MSc Public Health and Health Promotion and includes leading and contributing to study blocks on health promotion, health and society, research ethics and qualitative / digital research methods. I was previously the programme leader for 4 years.  I have extensive experience in curriculum development and I am a Recognised Programme Developer at Brunel University London. I am also the Research Ethics Officer. My research focuses on ageing, embodiment, the digital and everyday life and the use of visual and creative methods in ageing research. I was Principal Investigator for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) research project Photographing Everyday Life: Ageing, Lived Experiences, Time and Space. I am currently Co-Investigator for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) international partnership Ageing, Communication, Technologies (ACT): experiencing a digital world in later life (led by Prof Kimberley Sawchuk, Concordia University, Canada) and Collaborator for the 5 year SSHRC Insight Grant Digital Culture and Quantified Aging (with Profs Barb Marshal and Stephen Katz, Trent University, Canada). I am Co-Convenor of the British Sociological Association (BSA) Ageing, Body and Society study group and Co-Editor of the Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology that was published in 2015 (both with Prof Julia Twigg, University of Kent).  I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Sociological Research Online journal, of the Associate Board of the Sociology Journal and of the Executive Board for the Research Committee RC11 Sociology of Ageing of the International Sociological Association. Qualifications: PhD (2008) Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. ESRC funded. Thesis ‘Embodying ‘active’ ageing: health, bodies and emotions in later life’. MA (with distinction) in Sociological Research in Health Care. University of Warwick (1999). ESRC funded. BSc (First Class Honours) Sociology and Anthropology. Oxford Brookes University (1997) Registered General Nurse. St. Mary’s Hospital, London (1986) Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice. University of Reading (2011)

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 28/06/2021