On 18th April, Dr Majella Kilkey and Prof Louise Ryan organised a symposium to mark the kick-off of their new research ‘Ageing in and out of place: towards sustainable wellbeing in diverse and mobile contexts’ (Work Package B4 in the ESRC-funded Sustainable Care Programme led by Prof Sue Yeandle – http://circle.group.shef.ac.uk/ ).
This one day event in Sheffield, brought together leading academics on ageing, care and migration, as well as practitioners and community organisations from across the country.
The speakers discussed the ‘state of the art’ in academic research on how ageing and care needs are experienced and negotiated through migration. The experiences of retiree migrants in Spain and France, and the likely impact of Brexit, were examined by Alistair Hunter (University of Edinburgh), Inés Calzada (Complutense University Madrid), Dan Horsfall (University of York) and Kelly Hall (University of Birmingham).
Presenting research on ageing migrants in the UK, Elisabetta Zontini (University of Nottingham) focused on Italian migrants in Nottingham and how relations with the country of origin shifted through the life course. Shereen Hussein (Kings College London), drew on research with Turkish migrants to consider how experiences of ageing were shaped by the intersections of gender, class and ethnicity. Julia Brannen (UCL) discussed methodological issues in conducting research across different generations of migrant men. Omar Khan (Runnymede Trust), presented statistical data on the persistent patterns of inequality across older BME groups in the UK.
Meanwhile, the practical challenges facing ageing migrants in the UK and the varying community resources available to them were discussed by representatives from Irish, Polish and African-Caribbean organisations. These are the three populations of ageing migrants which the project ‘Ageing In and Out of Place’ will focus upon. Tamara Fieldsend (Polish Drop-in Centre & Library, Barnsley), Clinton McKoy & Olivier Tsemo (SADACCA, Sheffield), Mary Tilki (Cuimhne, Irish Memory Loss Alliance) and Barbara Drozdowicz (East European Resource Centre, London) discussed their shared experiences of voluntary sector funding cuts in the context of Austerity, as well as the increasingly hostile anti-immigration environment.
The recent example of the ‘children of Windrush’, several of whom were threatened with deportation despite living in the UK for most of their lives, sparked much discussion about how immigration policies are impacting upon particular communities, including when they try to access benefits and health and social care provisions in older age Moreover, this issue also underlined the concerns of EU citizens about the security of their status and entitlement to access services after Brexit.
The event provided much food for thought and highlighted the need for ongoing research around migration, ageing and care, especially in the current context of Brexit and Austerity policies.
Majella and Louise, along with the RA Magda Lorinc and the PhD student Obert Tawodzera, are looking forward to conducting this research and working with these community groups and researchers over the coming three years.
A big thank you to Laura Foley, Migration Research Group administrator, for all her help in organising this very successful symposium.