PhD Research Student


My PhD title is Age Friendly Communities for people with Mobility Difficulties 

My background

Studying part time with the Open University, I gained a degree in Psychology and Criminology and subsequently an MSc in Social Research Methods at Swansea University in 2016 with a dissertation project investigating whether wheelchair use can cause social isolation.

My research

Now at the Centre for Innovative Ageing my research interests continue to focus around Environments of Ageing. The PhD I am conducting explores how we adapt to the use of mobility aids acquired through ageing or chronic illness needs. This is approached by understanding how people, society and the environment encompass these changes or if people become excluded because they do not meet a prescribed expectation of a ‘normal body’ or normal movement.

The study investigates the use of mobility aids such as walking sticks and wheelchairs, and also aids like white sticks for the visually impaired.  In addition to the disabling conditions that require their use, mobility aids have been shown to impact on everyday relationships, routines and practices sometimes leading to social isolation. Using ethnographic methodologies, the everyday routines of mobility aid users are being investigated to understand how well public places and spaces such as shops, GP practices, dental surgeries, public buildings, shopping centres and markets accommodate mobility aid users. It also incorporates systems such as public transport and personal transportation. I call people mobility aid users because for the purposes of this study, it is the use of the mobility aid that is being investigated, although this obviously cannot be completely separated from any disability or illness. 


Dr Charles Musselwhite, Dr Ashley Frawley