Dr Lorna Warren

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, (BSc (Joint Hons), PhD)

Director of Postgraduate Affairs - Research

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-6416-4747

Photo of Lorna Warren

Email: l.warren@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: Elmfield, LG24 | Telephone: 0114 222 6468 (external), 26468 (internal)

Academic Profile

I first moved to the Department of Sociological Studies in 1989 to work on an evaluation of the Neighbourhood Support Units initiative in Sheffield, building on my doctoral study of older people and home help. I rejoined the Department in 1994, having worked at Durham University for a couple of years, to take up a lectureship in social policy. I am a cross-faculty member of the Sheffield Institute for Studies in Ageing (SISA) and currently sit on the Management Committee of the Princess Royal Trust Sheffield Carers Centre.


Much of my early research centred on social care for older people, though it also extended to other aspects of community and health care services and their impact on the lives of service users and carers. I draw from a mix of anthropological, social policy, sociological, social gerontological, and feminist perspectives and approaches and, intersecting with age, issues of gender and ethnicity are a key focus. My interests include social and cultural dimensions of ageing, intergenerational relations and informal or family care relationships, which I have explored predominantly through qualitative methods, including life stories and more recently visual approaches. Increasingly, I find myself engaged by `user involvement´ and committed to the development of participatory research, raising questions about how we come to know what we know about the lives of people who use services and the connection of this knowledge with social care policy and practice.

I am currently completing research, as Principle Investigator, on the Representing Self – Representing Ageing project which is part of the cross disciplinary New Dynamics of Ageing Programme: http://www.newdynamics.group.shef.ac.uk/

Known more familiarly by the title of Look at Me!, the project has worked with women in Sheffield to explore representations of women and ageing in the media and to produce new images to challenge existing stereotypes. The images produced in project workshops have been exhibited at various venues – from art galleries to shopping centres - around Sheffield: http://www.representing-ageing.com/

I am also co-applicant, with Geraldine Boyle, on an E.S.R.C. funded project exploring everyday decision-making by people with dementia and their spouse carers.

Other recent research has included:

i) the ESRC Older Women’s Lives and Voices project, exploring issues affecting the quality of life of older women across different ethnic groups within Sheffield and their involvement in services available to them:

Growing Older Programme

Older Women's Lives and Voices

ii) the European Commission funded MERI project (Mapping Existing Research and Identifying Knowledge Gaps Concerning the Situation of Older Women in Europe), a collaborative project involving 13 EC countries and designed to contribute to the development of European studies and policy to improve older women’s lives.

Recent Funded Research






An ESRC post-doctoral fellowship (Dr Naomi Richards) exploring ways people anticipate dying in the UK



An investigative study of the social process of everyday decision-making by people with dementia and their spouses



Representing Self - Representing Ageing (Look at Me!): a participatory and interdisciplinary project exploring images of women and ageing



University of Sheffield, Knowledge Transfer Opportunities Fund


An investigative study, in collaboration with Princess Royal Trust Sheffield Carers Centre Carer, looking at carers involvement in research, policy and practice



An ESRC post-doctoral fellowship (Dr Elaine Argyle) exploring older people and their money


European Commission, Framework Programme 5 Accompanying Measure

A collaborative project across 13 countries mapping existing research and identifying knowledge gaps concerning the situation of older women in Europe



A participatory project exploring the lives of older women in Sheffield and their participation in policy

Growing Older Programme

Older Women's Lives and Voices


Averil Osborn Fund

The development of a research resource pack - Working with Older People


Sheffield City Council

Evaluation of the Sheffield Better Government for Older People Pilot Project


I teach and supervise students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I take an inquiry-based approach, encouraging students to think outside the box, to draw critically from their own experiences and to be original in their thinking and ideas. I believe that one of the best ways for students to learn is by finding out things for themselves through research, testing existing theories and learning first-hand the vital contribution of empirical and grounded knowledge. The majority of my teaching is research-led: my modules topics draw from my studies of service provision; views on, experiences of and representations of ageing; carers and caring; and the involvement of service users in shaping research, policy and practice. I bring the participatory approaches I use in my research into the classroom, encouraging students to work in groups, as well as on an individual basis, to investigate social and cultural issues and to present their findings in dynamic and creative ways.

I currently convene the following undergraduate modules:

  • SCS1015 Doing Social Research
  • SCS3010 Ageing and Society
  • SCS3015 Involving Users in Research

I am also involved in the supervision of students taking extended essays and dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on the following modules:

  • SCS3001 Dissertation in Sociology
  • SCS3002 Dissertation in Social Policy
  • SCS3003 Extended Essay in Sociology
  • SCS3004 Extended Essay in Social Policy
  • SCS6330 Dissertation in Social Research

See our Undergraduate Degree pages.

Postgraduate Supervision

I have previously supervised 6 students to successful completion at PhD level and 1 student to MPhil level. Their research has covered older people and life stories; evaluation of the Sheffield Better Government for Older People pilot; older carers and their material circumstances; carers of people with dementia; male carers, older caring couples, and transgender and transsexuality. Three students completed their PhDs with the help of ESRC funding.

I am currently supervising 4 students working on topics which include: public participation in Primary Care Trusts in Sheffield; older women and sexuality; family care for older people in Trinidad and Tobago; and the personal possessions which older people bring with them when moving into residential care.

I welcome applications to study full-time or part-time with me for MPhil or PhD research degrees that are related to my activities and experience. I would be particularly interested in hearing from students who wish to undertake participatory research with older people.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

Publications since 2005

with Hogan, S. (forthcoming 2012) ‘Dealing with complexity in research findings: how do older women negotiate and challenge images of ageing?’, Journal of Women and Aging, 24(4), December 2012.

with Richards, N. (forthcoming 2012) ‘”I don’t see many images of myself coming back at myself’: representations of women and ageing’, in Ylänne, V. (ed) Representing Ageing: Images and Identities. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

with Richards, N.and Gott, M. (2012) ‘The challenge of creating 'alternative' images of ageing: lessons from a project with older women’, Journal of Aging Studies, 26(1): 65-78.

with Boxall, K. (2009) ‘Service users in and out of the academy: collusion in exclusion?’ Social Work Education 28(3): 281-297.

with Clarke, A. (2009) ‘Woo hoo, what a ride: older people, life stories and active ageing’ in R. Edmondson and H-J. von Kondratowitz, (eds) Valuing Older People: A Humanist Approach to Ageing, Bristol: The Policy Press, 233-248. ISBN 9781847422910.

with Boxall, K.and Chau, R. (2007) ‘User involvement’ in Hodgson, S. M. and Irving, Z. (eds) Policy Reconsidered: Meanings, Politics and Practices. Bristol: The Policy Press.

with Clarke, A. (2007) 'Hopes, Fears and Expectations about the Future. What Do Older People's Stories Tell Us About Active Ageing?', Ageing and Society (27), pp.465–488.

(2007) Carers Having a Say. Sheffield: Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield:

with Clarke, A. (2006) 'Growing older - the good, the bad and the ugly: subjective views of ageing’, International Journal of Disability and Human Development 5(1): 61-67.

with Cook, J. (2005) ‘Working with older women in research: benefits and challenges of involvement’ in L. Lowes, L. and I. Hulatt (eds) Involving Service Users in Health and Social Care Research. London: Routledge, 171-189.

with Davidson, K., and Maynard, M. (2005) ‘Social involvement: aspects of gender and ethnicity’ in A. Walker, A. and C. Hagan Hennessy (eds) (2005) Understanding Quality of Life in Older Age. Buckingham: Open University Press.

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.