Four of the LiDA team – Mike Wilson, Shaun Lawson, John Vines and Dina Vasileiou – attended the Research Hub event organised by the Campaign to End Loneliness* on 23 January 2015 in London. The researchers had the opportunity to hear some of the latest research on loneliness conducted within UK academic institutions and the public sector and to meet and discuss with other leading researchers in the field. The LiDA team took this event as an opportunity to introduce the rationale and the objectives of the LiDA project to other experts in the field and to reflect on and discuss potential challenges of empirically delineating and studying the concept of loneliness and of translating these insights into innovative technology that will help people manage these experiences.
The Research Hub event itself met with success and was attended by more than 20 people, coming primarily from academia, as well as the public and voluntary sectors. Interesting qualitative and quantitative research projects on loneliness were presented by researchers of the Behavioural Insights Team & Public Health England, Swansea University, University of Kent and Brunel University London, that provoked not only challenging questions and intriguing discussions but also stimulating debates. The Research Hub event concluded with networking activities among the attendees who had the chance to meet in person with each other, informally discuss their work, and exchange ideas, views and thoughts. The LiDA team found a fruitful ground to highlight the need for research to expand the scope of looking at the phenomenon of loneliness, in ways that they will investigate and account for more transient or episodic forms of loneliness which have the potential to occur in every person’s life, especially within the context of modern life configurations that are characterised by intense mobility and less stable patterns of living and working. In line with the LiDA rationale, a more encompassed approach to loneliness would divert the emphasis of the research from the increasing ‘medicalised view’ of the phenomenon and the almost exclusive focus on older people, allowing alternative perspectives and theorisations, as well as study populations, to come into the forefront. The LiDA team was very enthusiastic to share these thoughts and to notice their resonance with other researchers’ standpoints and work.
* The Campaign to End Loneliness Research Hub exists to develop and communicate the evidence base on the issue of loneliness in older age. The Hub involves university academics and researchers from charity and private sectors and works with the Campaign to:
- Promote and ‘translate’ academic research to policy and practice
- Identify gaps in the academic research on the issues
- Create new research for the benefits of both practitioners and academics
Chaired by Professor Christina Victor (Professor of Gerontology and Public Health, Brunel University) and Professor Vanessa Burholt (Professor of Gerontology and Director of the Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA), Swansea University), the Research Hub meets twice a year, to exchange information about on-going and recent research and network across academic disciplines. Hub members are also invited to present at Campaign-run workshops and conferences and contribute a quarterly Research Bulletin.
To request to join the Research Hub mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.