Generations network

CPCS Associate Jennie Bristow, and University of Surrey Research Fellow Helen Kingstone, were  awarded a Wellcome Trust Small Grant in the Humanities and Social Sciences for a project titled ‘Generations: what’s in the concept and how should it be used?’

The award provided funding to develop an interdisciplinary network of academics and Third Sector organisations actively working with ‘generation’, to map how this concept can best be used, and to improve understanding of the relationship between generations, wellbeing, and public policy.

The network aimed to transform the ways that generation is discussed among scholars (where there is currently little dialogue between disciplinary fields that are using the concept in parallel but separate and contradictory ways), and between academics and policy-facing organisations. It further aimed to transform the way that ‘generation’ is used in media and public policy discussions, promoting a more nuanced and constructive understanding.

The network held a series of sequential workshops:

  • Generations in the family and the problem of ‘parenting’.
    University of Surrey, January 2020.
  • Generational identities and the problem of ‘presentism’.
    Online, 1 April 2020.
  • Intergenerational relationships.
    Online, 24 June 2020.
  • Generational identities and historical events.
    Online, 10 September 2020.
  • ‘Generationalism’ and the problem of social policy.
    Online, 14 January 2021.
    Read our briefing paper, ‘Talking about generations: 5 questions to ask yourself‘.
  • Consultation workshop with policy-makers and third-sector representatives.
    Online, 24 February 2021.

This vibrant series of discussions led to the publication of an edited collection, Studying Generations: Multidisciplinary perspectives (Bristol University Press, 2024). Edited by Helen Kingstone and Jennie Bristow, the book is published Open Access and free to read. Watch a recording of the launch discussion

Studying Generations: Multidisciplinary perspectives is the first in the new Bristol University Press seriesGenerations, Transitions, and Social Change.

More about the generations network workshop series.

For more information about the network and related workshops, contact Jennie Bristow and Helen Kingstone at

Follow us on Twitter @GenerationsNet.

More about the work of the generations network: