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“Last year there was significant doubt as to whether I would be able to attend the annual conference because of financial constraints and so I was extremely pleased, grateful and relieved when my BSG bursary application was successful” (Dr Beth Winters)

In the run up to Liverpool 2019, three enthusiastic recipients of BSG bursaries, give a flavour of the supportive, diverse and stimulating conversations you might expect from a BSG annual conference. Hannah Merrick (University of Newcastle), Ezinma Nbonu (University of Manchester) and Dr Beth Winter (University of Swansea) share their reflections on the BSG 2018 Annual Conference, “Ageing in an Unequal World: Shaping Environments for the 21st Century”.

A few favourite things

“This was my first experience presenting my PhD work at a conference, therefore I arrived feeling excited and nervous about my presentation”

“Having the opportunity to give an oral presentation was invaluable in further developing my presentation skills and confidence as an emerging researcher. As the first external presentation about my own doctoral research, I found the audience’s comments supportive and encouraging”

“I was drawn in by Mark Epstein’s photography [Age Concerns Photographic Exhibition]  and gradually made my way around the exhibition admiring the images and taking in the stories of humour, sadness and friendship that came with them. This became one of my favourite spots of the conference.”

“Throughout the conference I attended sessions on work, retirement and the economy, connections and relationships, and unequal ageing. BSG was a really valuable experience for me in that I was able to hear talks on a range of topics related to my PhD research and I came away with and greater understanding and some new perspectives on the literature and theory I have been engaging with.”

Hannah Merrick (University of Newcastle)

Building networks and confidence

 This is my second time at a BSG Annual Conference, but my first time presenting. The preconference was split into three parts:

  • Impact and Engagement: Engaging the public in research Workshop
    This activity was very informative and elicited a diverse range of interesting questions, from a diverse group of people, coming together because of their interest in ageing. Dr. Claire Garabedian’s talk on passion and the dissemination of your research was very inspiring. She really encouraged thinking out of the box.
  • Networking: the Networking session in a local pub was well attended. A lot of conversation took place amongst the delegates. I remember having a heated discussion about the merits of academic writing vs the animated oral presentation.
  • 3 Minutes Rapid Fire presentation: The Rapid Fire presentations took place in front of a panel of 3 professionals who work in Ageing. The requirements were the use of one slide, and for the presentation to be delivered within 3 minutes. There was a good variety of presentations and presentation styles.

“Within the [poster presentation] slot I spoke to 4 different individuals about the content of my poster, I was also interviewed by a member of the Sterling Poster Prize judging panel. I had to think quickly and give succinct answers. This aspect of the dissemination of my research is a work in progress, and I hope to improve upon my current skills.”

“I exchanged many business cards at the Conference, I am now following and being followed by several people involved in Ageing on Twitter.”

Ezinma Nbonu (University of Manchester)

Developing insights and international links

“One of the primary reasons that I so enjoy attending the BSG is because it provides me with an excellent opportunity to meet new people and develop networks with a diverse group of individuals. This year was no different and I made links with academics from all over the world including New Zealand, Belgium, Canada and India. It is a truly international conference.”

“Having conducted some research on Cross – national perspectives on age-friendly communities myself within Wales it was wonderful to listen and learn about different countries approaches and experiences –  Belgium, Manchester, Canada, Basque Country and Ireland. While differences were identified I was slightly surprised by the amount of similarities that exist and a colleague of mine has since made direct contact with the speaker from the Basque Country with whom we are hoping to develop links given the obvious synergies between the Basque Country and Wales.”

I have a particular interest in devolution and am always keen to learn about opportunities for collaborative work across the devolved nations. This symposium on Social connections and relationships in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland: learning from devolved nations: was extremely interesting and provided me with new insight into loneliness and isolation within and between the devolved nations and suggested new and exciting opportunities for cross-country comparative work.”

Dr Beth Winters 

If you wish to find out more about attending the BSG Annual Conference see https://www.britishgerontology.org/events-and-courses/bsg-annual-conference, or wish to apply for a bursary for 2020 see https://www.britishgerontology.org/bsg-awards/bursaries

Many thanks to Hannah, Ezinma and Beth for sharing your experiences.