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Loneliness and Isolation

22nd March @ 13:30-16:00

This will be our seventh CCH seminar in our series at the WHO Collaborative Centre on Culture and Health, and is looking at ‘Loneliness and Isolation we will hear from Fred Cooper, who is a Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at Exeter University. He is presently working on a history of loneliness across the twentieth century.  We will also hear from Dr Kellie Payne, who has been the Research and Policy Manager for the Campaign to End Loneliness since 2015 and manages its Research and Policy Hub and Learning Network.  Last but not least, Dr Joanna Power-McHugh, who is a Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast & Trinity College Dublin.  She is currently exploring the social determinants of cognitive decline among older adults in Ireland, North and South, examining the causal links between loneliness and social isolation and cognitive decline and aims to reveal the mechanisms behind these links.

Fred’s talk: ‘The Modern Killing Disease’: Loneliness and Prevention in Post-War Britain’, will explore an earlier crisis of disconnection: a medical and moral panic over loneliness, solitude, and social isolation in Britain in the 1950s and early 1960s. Drawing on anxieties about motherhood, housing, and ideologies of individualism and privacy, doctors, journalists, and social reformers uncovered a crowd of the ‘hidden lonely’, particularly in new towns, dormitory suburbs, and anonymous urban sprawls. Understanding loneliness as a constant dialogue between inner and outer lives, contemporaries imagined radical and egalitarian networks of social and psychological responsibility. In the process, they found ways of speaking about distress which moved beyond the politics of psychiatric diagnosis.

Dr Kellie Payne will discuss the work that they are currently undertaking at the Campaign to End Loneliness, and so will add a policy perspective to the seminar.

Dr Joanna McHugh Power will discuss loneliness from a cross-cultural perspective. Loneliness is increasingly described as a universal experience, particularly by those interested in its biological underpinnings. However, there is evidence that loneliness depends in large part on cultural context. Since loneliness is frequently touted as a health risk, it is important to understand how loneliness operates in different cultures. Joanna will give an overview of the literature on the influence of culture on loneliness, and present some of her own work on the meaning of loneliness in rural Ireland.

We have invited other experts in this field to be a part of the audience and contribute to the following discussions. We welcome academics, researchers, public health policymakers and practitioner, as well as any interested members of the public.

There will be light refreshments available at this event from 1.30pm, the event begins at 2pm.

Please note, booking is limited so if you book a place and are not able to make it please do let us know so we can make the space available for someone else.

If you can not attend, but are interested, please do register for our webinar at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8481263649941437185

For further queries, please contact Kerry Dungay, Project Manager for the WHO Collaboraition Centre at: k.dungay@exeter.ac.uk


22nd March


University of Exeter


University of Exeter, Digital Humanitaies Lab
Queens Building
Exeter, England EX4 4QH
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