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Cymraeg

The Tenth decade

22 October 2010

I live her memory as if it were my own:
a path through woods and four girls racing down
- Gwyneth, Elen, Ceinwen, Vi - three sisters and a friend
whose letter out of the blue brought scent and sound
of a long ago September between wars:

a river rippling stones, laughter of girls,
skelter of skirts into the kitchen at Nant Mill.
Two older sisters set the great elm table,
loaves cool on a rack, churned butter gleams,
five handsome brothers tramp in from the fields.

All over the world a child’s still running home
through grim street, grimy ginnel, field or slum.
Inside the old ones, ending their century,
the child who was, alive in memory,
and who they were, lover, mother, hero.

Some lose themselves and us before they go.
Some live as if they had all the time in the world
to brave out frailty and pain, still panning for gold.

An elderly couple sat on a park bench

The Tenth decade was written by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet for Wales to celebrate the launch of a new research network at the University that takes an innovative approach to the study of ageing.

The Cardiff University Ageing, Science and Older People Network (CASciOPe) brings together humanities and science scholars from across the University to generate a greater understanding of the biological processes and environmental factors that affect people as they age.

"Current science suggests that ageing is the greatest risk factor for many diseases and that we all live with a fatal degenerative disease - ageing," said Professor Joanna Latimer of the School of Social Sciences which co-ordinates the network

"But to what extent is ageing a natural process, and what are the ethical limits to interfering in ageing processes? Does viewing age-related conditions as ‘diseases’ that require ‘cures’ risk feeding back into ageist preoccupations in contemporary culture, to reinforce negative attitudes towards ageing and towards being old? It is this paradox and tension that is at the heart of the network - we want to find ways to venerate ageing and older people, while celebrating how science and medicine can support all of us to have an engaged and participative life as we age."

The network involves 15 of the University’s Schools, including Social Sciences, Biosciences, Medicine, Nursing, City and Regional Planning and Psychology. Together they will focus their research on the basic biology of ageing and diseases associated with later life, along with an exploration of their social, cultural and ethical implications.

"Our philosophy is that although ageing is a process, something that happens to all of us all the time, it does not have an inevitable course," said Professor David Kipling, who co-chairs CASciOPe. "There is much to understand and to be done to help support different kinds of ageing across different groups in society, to support ways of living that offer greater social inclusion and engagement as well as health. In all this there are complex social, cultural and ethical issues – after all, degeneration, death and mortality are as integral to life as health and longevity."

CASciOPe gratefully acknowledges the support of Academi - www.academi.org

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