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The ARK Ageing Programme was established in 2013 with a grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies awarded to Dr. Paula Devine (Queen’s University Belfast) and Professor Gillian Robinson (Ulster University).   The grant allowed us to dedicate three years to establishing the programme, which aims to support engagement between the age and academic sectors in Northern Ireland.  In 2014 Dr. Gemma Carney was appointed as lecturer in social policy and ageing, which made gerontology a core part of the undergraduate programme at Queen’s.

Since 2013, we have increased knowledge of ageing and public awareness of key policy challenges through a range of innovative projects. We have run a huge number of events and conferences, and established the Northern Ireland branch of the British Society of Gerontology. We have researched services for isolated older men, the representation of old age in news media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and potential of age-friendly practice. In addition, links were made with researchers around the world. 

Our PhD students graduated and now work as academics or professional researchers. Dr. Alexandra Chapman is a lecturer in Social Policy at Ulster University and Dr. Elizabeth Martin teaches on the social policy programme at Queen’s. Dr. Sarah Lawrence is a senior analyst in the private sector. Current students include Angel Leira Pernas, Murchana Kaushik who are studying with Gemma Carney at Queen’s, and Susan Hughes who is working with Ann Marie Gray at Ulster.

We have a strong track record in inter-disciplinary studies of ageing, a process that began with The Lively Project. Other projects investigated how dementia fiction may help to increase empathy towards people with dementia, and how history can help us to take the long view on the impact of population ageing on social policy. We are active members of Framing Ageing, a transdisciplinary international network of gerontologists, geriatricians and arts and humanities scholars.

Now that ageing has been established as a key theme in ARK’s remit to encourage and inspire critical policy debates you can read about our work on our projects and publications pages.

You can still access our earlier website, which provides information on our work from 2013 to 2022.

For further information, please contact Gemma Carney,