This year I had the immense honor of being named by the ABC and the University of Sydney among the ABC Top 5 Scholars in Australia (Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences). The program awards early-career scholars, “the next generation of talent” – and includes a media residency at the ABC studios in Sydney!
During the program, I learned from Australia’s best journalists and producers; the aim was to develop and hone a set of critical communication skills to reach a wider and more general audience. It was such a privilege to work with the ABC to translate and disseminate my research on loneliness and technology use in later life. It allowed me to amplify the voices of my participants, and to start a broader conversation about ageing, technology, and loneliness.
In addition to the radio and TV interviews I gave during the residency (covering, for example, ageism), I am extremely proud of these two outcomes:
I wrote this article (Op-ed) for the ABC: “I spent five years speaking with people in nursing homes. This is what I learnt about loneliness”. It brings together research that I conducted in Canada and Australia, with the support of aged-care facilities and providers who are dedicated to tackling loneliness and its deleterious consequences.
I also produced this radio segment for ABC RN Future Tense: Digital Technology & Lonely Older People. I interviewed Associate Prof. Roger Patulny, Dr Jenny Waycott, and Prof. Ron Baecker to explore how emerging technologies can be used and designed to help address loneliness. We discussed both challenges and opportunities 😉
I’m so grateful for this extraordinary ABC program and for the long-life effects it will have on my work. It is already contributing to rich public engagement and impact – in response to my Op-ed (above), I received countless emails of people sharing their stories of loneliness and ageism. All the messages encouraged me to continue my research, highlighting its significance and value.
A special thanks to Simon Nicholas, Anna Kelsey-Sugg, Karin Zsivanovits, Monique Ross, Simon Brown, Roi Huberman, all the wonderful ABC staff, and my dear ABC Top 5 mates.