Team Biographies

Learn About Our Team

Principal and Co-Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators and Work Package Co-Leads

Judith Sixsmith – Principal Investigator and Work Package 3 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Judith Sixsmith is Professor of Health Research at the University of Dundee, UK and is Co-Director of the Institute of Social Science Research (ISSR) and Co-Director of The Centre for Educational and Life Transitions (TCELT), both at the University of Dundee. Her research interests lie in the areas of health and wellbeing where she explores the ways in which people, particularly older people, living in disadvantaged communities experience processes of marginalisation within existing health, social, cultural and technological systems. An expert in qualitative methodologies, she has substantial experience in directing research in the area of ageing and technology and in exploring supportive communities for older people. Judith has published widely in gerontology and age friendliness.

Mei Lan Fang – Co-Principal Investigator and Work Packages 2 & 5 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Mei Lan Fang is the Co-Principal Investigator of the IncludeAge Project. She previously worked at the University of Dundee but now works as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Gerontology, Science and Technology for Aging Research (STAR) Institute at Simon Fraser University. Her current research focuses on co-creating ecosystems of intergenerational and inclusive spaces and places with and for people working and living in the community.

Fiona Dobbie – Co-Investigator (University of Edinburgh)
*Leading on social network research

Dr Fiona Dobbie, is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. She is a qualitative and mixed method social scientist with over 20 years’ experience as a research commissioner, researcher and academic. She has particular expertise in qualitative social network research, qualitative analysis, complex health behaviour change intervention design and evaluation.

Sarah Offley – Co-Investigator (Dudley Voices for Choice)

Hi, my name is Sarah Offley, and I am the Chief Officer at Dudley Voices for Choice. I work alongside people with learning disabilities and autistic people to create an equitable and fair society. Our mission statement is ‘Where every voice is heard, every voice is valued and every voice.

Ben Thomas – Co-Investigator (Opening Doors)

Ben is the Research and Policy Manager at Opening Doors, the UK’s largest charity dedicated to improving the lives of older LGBTQ+ people and Professor of mental health and learning disabilities at London South Bank University. He has extensive experience of research and policy work and his research interests are focused on improving health inequalities amongst marginalized groups. He has a national reputation for producing and using evidence to influence social and health policy, with a focus on LGBTQ+ ageing and inequalities later in life and other marginalised and disadvantaged communities.

Jo Waldron – Co-Investigator (Dudley Voices for Choice)

Hi my name is Jo Waldron. I work for Dudley Voices for Choice as a Project Worker/Research Assistant. I have worked alongside people with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism for over thirty years and love the job satisfaction I get from making even the smallest difference to peoples lives.

Susan Buell – Workpackage 1 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Susan is a lecturer at Dundee University. She takes part in research to make the lives of people with learning disabilities better in lots of ways. This includes health and communication, digital access and making everyday life more positive for people with learning disabilities in their communities. She used to teach in the University of East Anglia and before then worked at Manchester Metropolitan University in teaching and research.

Anna Marriott – Workpackage 1 Co-Lead (National Development Team for Inclusion)

Anna Marriott is Programme Lead for Research and Evaluation at the National Development Team for Inclusion. Her research has focused on disability-related issues, with an emphasis on informing policy. She has a particular interest in participatory research approaches.

Pat Scrutton – Workpackage 1 Co-Lead (Intergenerational National Network)

Pat Scrutton retired in 2009. She continues to co-ordinate the Intergenerational National Network. In recent years she has become involved in research projects with Heriot-Watt University and the Universities of Dundee and Stirling. She is a member of the SNAP (Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights) Leadership Panel.

Kathryn Almack – Workpackages 2 & 4 Co-Lead (University of Hertfordshire)

Kathryn Almack is Professor of Family Lives and Care in the School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire. Kathryn is a sociologist, and her research interests includes relationships of care in people’s lives and LGBT lives across the life course. Kathryn has an effective sustained track record of her research being used to shape and influence policy and professional practice.

Darren Chadwick – Workpackage 2 Co-Lead (Liverpool John Moores University)

Dr. Darren D. Chadwick works at Liverpool John Moores University in the School of Psychology and is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. His research considers the social, community and digital inclusion and online risks for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their carers. He also has expertise in communication, identity, health and the inclusion in research of those with disabilities.

Meiko Makita – Workpackage 2 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Dr Makita’s research expertise is on lived experiences of marginalised groups and communities. She has explored how place may support everyday life in later life and determine socio-economic and health inequalities throughout the life course. She has collaborated with partners in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil), South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia) and Europe (Spain, Poland, United Kingdom), examining issues of health, social care, and wellbeing, place-making, community empowerment, participatory processes, and partnership approaches to the design of policy and practice guidelines, mainly from a qualitative perspective. Research areas include sociological approaches to digitally mediated healthcare information and communication; media and cultural studies, gender issues and inequalities, feminist gerontology, cross-language research issues, and audio-visual research methods.

Susan Levy – Workpackage 3 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Susan’s research centres on international social work, indigenous and culturally relevant knowledge, disability, and the social dimensions of arts-based practices with a focus on understanding a sense of belonging, identity, and inclusion.  Areas of expertise include African social work, and the use of arts-based practices in health and social work.

Ruth Callander – Workpackage 4 Co-Lead (Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities)

Ruth Callander is Evidence Programme Lead at the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD). In that role Ruth ensures that SCLD’s work to promote the rights of people with learning disabilities is underpinned by the best available evidence. This includes utilising existing data, designing in-house research and collaborating with external partners.

Mark Smith – Workpackage 4 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Mark Smith is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Dundee. He has extensive work experience in residential child care and from this developed an academic interest in ideas of care. He is a member of the think tank, Common Weal’s care Reform Group. He is a qualitative researcher who draws on narrative and autoethnographic methods.

Jenna Breckenridge – Workpackage 5 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Jenna holds a clinical academic appointment between the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside. She is an occupational therapist by background, with broad experience in health and social science research. Her expertise is in knowledge mobilisation, creative methods and qualitative research.

Grace Cardozo – Workpackage 5 Co-Lead (Sleeping Giants)

Grace has over 25 years’ experience in working with the third and public sectors, most recently in her role within Sleeping Giants, which she founded in 2017 with the aim of providing a range of services and support that strengthen the skills, abilities and confidence of people, community groups and organisations to take effective action and leading roles in the development of their communities.  She has an unwavering passion and commitment to equality and inclusion, and is nationally renowned for her work in this area, winning a National Diversity Award for her work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people, adults and older people.  Grace also served for 8 years as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, scrutinising the work of the NHS Board and the Integration Joint Board, chairing the Public Health Committee, and acting as a Board Champion on the LGBT Staff Network.

Leon Hamilton – Workpackage 5 Co-Lead (Outside the Box)

Leon is a Community Communications worker at Outside the Box Development Support, and facilitates the Queer Families project. He has experience supporting community groups and projects across Scotland with communications and media, helping them find ways to share learning and build their networks. His interests include action research and learning, access, and queer and Disabled community knowledge and organising.

Laura Roe – Workpackage 5 Co-Lead (University of Dundee)

Dr Laura Roe is a medical anthropologist and lecturer within the School of Health Sciences at the University of Dundee, specialising in addiction and substance use. Her work has encompassed long-term ethnography with people who use drugs and creative collaborative projects, including an exhibition on substance use in Scotland.

Project Research Team

Joe Tai – Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Dundee)

I’m one of the research associates on IncludeAge, and I am based at the University of Dundee. I have a background in intellectual history, particularly the study of nations and identities. Previously I worked at Robert Gordon University as a research assistant, and I have experience in the areas of paediatric palliative and end of life care research, and in social care.

Jacqui Lovell – Post Doctoral Research Fellow (Liverpool John Moores University)

Jacqui is a participatory action researcher who uses creative arts in her work with people from different groups and communities. She is a person with lived experience, co-director of the Survivor Researcher Network cic and a member of the LGBT+ community. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, performance poetry and doing the ‘Winnie waddle’ with her beloved beagle Winnie round her local park. Jacqui has recently been appointed as a member of the national Disability Standing Committee at University College Union and co-chair of the Staff Disability Network at Liverpool John Moores University.

Richard Vytniorgu – Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Hertfordshire)

Richard is Research Fellow in the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire. His interdisciplinary and comparative research focuses on sexual / gendered identities and belonging, place, and inclusion, with expertise in narrative and autobiographical representation across different media and genres. He has also published widely on twentieth-century women’s writing, masculinity, philosophy of education, and student belonging. His new book, Effeminate Belonging: Gender Nonconforming Experience and Gay Bottom Identities, is published by Emerald in 2024. Before joining Hertfordshire, he held academic roles at the University of Exeter and University of Nottingham. Originally from Romania, Richard grew up in Wiltshire and now lives in rural Wales with his husband, an outdoors instructor.

Marianne Cranwell – Project Coordinator/ Research Assistant (University of Dundee)

Marianne is a project co-ordinator and research assistant on the IncludeAge project based at the University of Dundee. Her research interests include using qualitative approaches to learn more about communities, social care, informal carers, older people and transitions in care.  

Additional Partners

Tracy Dixon – Partner (University of Dundee)

Tracey first qualified as a zoologist with a specialisation in entomology. She retrained in information technology, supporting various schools within the University of Dundee since 1992. Eventually finding a home in geographical information systems and visualisation. She also made the first attempt to start a GaySoc at the University of Dundee in the early 80s… but that’s another story.

Philip Gosling – Partner (Regard)

I’m Secretary of Regard, a national organisation OF disabled LGBTQI+ people.

Juliet Neun-Hornick – Partner (Greenhill Communications and SFU STAR Institute) 

Juliet is a graphic and web designer and the co-business owner of Greenhill Communications. Juliet is the IncludeAge communications consultant and graphic designer, responsible for designing and maintaining the IncludeAge website and communications infrastructure, and designing IncludeAge knowledge mobilization materials. Greenhill Communications offers a wide range of services from strategic communications consulting to web, digital and print design services. Juliet is also the STAR (Science and Technology for Aging Research) Institute Special Project Manager, a partner of IncludeAge. 

Angela Ross – Partner

Angela’s professional background is founded in Arts, Business and Community Development. She has worked in and with the Third Sector for over 18 years, supporting community members and organisations in the delivery and management of a range of projects and initiatives.