Week 2 – Ageing and Care during COVID Pandemic


The second week of the slow conference involved two sessions related to anthropological research on/during Covid-19. Dr Erica Borgstrom opened the plenary session, which was followed by a workshop organized by Dr Matthew Lariviere.

3rd November (Wed), 3pm CET/ 2 pm GMT (60 min)

Plenary Session by Dr Erica Borgstrom (The Open University, presenting on behalf of herself and co-editor Dr Sharon Mallon) Narratives of COVID: Loss, Dying, Death and Grief during

The COVID-19 pandemic brought death and grief to the forefront of the news and people’s daily experiences, often highlighting the isolated and individualised experiences of grief due to lockdowns and impacted funerary practices. As scholars interested in death studies, we are aware of the shifting experiences and expectations that people had throughout the pandemic. This Open University funded project, set out to capture the diverse, lived experience of our students, alumni and staff during the pandemic in relation to the themes of death, dying, bereavement, grief and loss. In this presentation, we discuss some of the themes that emerged in relation to the network’s interest in age and generations.

Workshop facilitated by Dr Matthew Lariviere (University of Bristol) Anthropological Research on Ageing and Generations during Covid-19: Reflections and Provocations for Future Fieldwork

5 November 2021 (Fri), 3pm CET/ 2 pm GMT (90 min)

This workshop explores challenges and opportunities for anthropological research focused on ageing and generations during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. AGENET members are invited to share their individual experiences on a digital board to illustrate how they worked with older people and other interlocutors during the pandemic. Such experiences will enable AGENET to discover what has and has not worked during the early stages of the pandemic. We hope to develop narratives to highlight variegated practices and provoke debates about future possibilities of ethnographic sensibilities and fieldwork with older people.


Dr Erica Borgstrom is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University. She specialises in medical anthropology and end-of-life care. She leads the Open Thanatology group which focuses on research and education related to death, dying and bereavement. She is an editor for Mortality, an interdisciplinary journal for death studies. You can follow Erica on Twitter @eriaborgstrom.

Dr Matthew Lariviere is Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Bristol. Matthew’s anthropological research explores the possibilities of digital technology within care and ageing futures. In 2020, the N8 Research Partnership recognised Matthew with a New Research Pioneer Award for his research on emergent technologies to support ageing in place. He is an editor for the International Journal of Care and Caring. He co-convenes (with Barbara Pieta) the Age and Generations Network (AGENET) of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. You can follow Matthew on Twitter, @mattlariv.