University of the Third Age to become ‘Research Ambassadors’ at Newcastle University

Lynne Corner presenting to delegates

Dr. Angela Abbott (CURDS and SiDE Society) was one of a number of SiDE researchers involved in an engagement event with members of U3A (University of the Third Age). The event was organised by Professor Jim Edwardson and Dr Lynne Corner in association with Voice North. Hosted at the new Campus for Ageing and Vitality at Newcastle University, members of U3A were invited to contribute to transforming the way research is carried out within the university. Angela and her co-researchers, Sandi Rickerby and Wendy Linsley, both Silver Ambassadors for Sage Gateshead’s Silver Programme, spoke about their citizen-generated research. Angela explained how they came together to formulate a research plan with the Silver Ambassadors, all active members of Sage’s over 50’s music programme. Sandi and Wendy described how they wanted to conduct a piece of research into why the older adults’ music programme was so successful, and what it meant for those taking part. They described how the idea started from a shared enthusiasm for undertaking research and a feeling for the benefits of the programme in terms of improved wellbeing, but were uncertain how to proceed on their own. Since 2011, Angela has been supporting the Silver Research Ambassadors to identify suitable research questions and research methods, and has provided training and support to carry out in-depth qualitative focus groups and interviews, and engage in the process of analysis. It is intended that the research findings will be presented by the team at a number of events, including the Ageing and Society Annual Conference in Chicago in November 2013.