Dr Sharon Wray
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- 2008-current: University of Huddersfield, Reader in Sociology
- 2002-2008: University of Huddersfield, Senior Lecturer Sociology
- 2001-2002: Leeds Metropolitan University, Senior Lecturer Sociology
- 2000-2001: University of York, Research Fellow
- 1997-2000: Leeds Metropolitan University, funded doctorate student and part-time lecturer
- 1994-1997: Bradford and Ilkley Community College, Lecturer in Sociology
Research and Scholarship
University research group memberships
I am currently the Associate Director of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research and a member of the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and the Centre for Research in the Social Sciences.
I am also the Director of the Huddersfield Intergenerational Research Group (HIRG)
This multi-disciplinary research group focuses on the relationships and experiences of people within, between, and across generations. Demographic changes mean that people are living longer which has a number of significant consequences. The ageing of populations is leading to major changes and has become a central focus of national and international policy discussion. This research group seeks to provide new insights into the impact of these demographic changes on a variety of topic areas such as; family structure, the rights of children and older people, sexuality, gender, socio-economic position and geographical location.
My research has focused on ageing, ethnic and cultural diversity, health, and quality of life. I am also interested in generational research and recently founded the Inter-generational Research Group which is located within the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research.
Grandparents Caring for Children Whose Parents are in Prison
In partnership with colleagues at the University of Huddersfield, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania, Wells of Hope, Uganda, Makerere University, Uganda, and The University of the West Indies, Trinidad, I am currently undertaking a pilot study exploring the experiences of family members caring for children whose parents are in prison.
The Cultural Construction of Diverse Identities and Bodies at Midlife
This qualitative research project examined midlife women’s experiences of health and beauty regimes across ethnic diversity. The research focused on how ethnic and cultural identity influenced women’s perceptions of their bodies as they grew older. It includes discussion of; perceptions and experiences of the ageing body, menopause, health, the construction of midlife identities.
Empowerment and Disempowerment:
A Cross-Cultural Study of Women in their Third Age.
This research was funded by the ESRC (grant as part of its Growing older programme. It took place at the University Of York. The research team included Professor Mary Maynard, Professor Haleh Afshar, Dr Sharon Wray and Dr Myfanwy Franks.The main aim of the study was to identify what older able-bodied women from differing ethnic groups prioritise in terms of quality of life and successful ageing and the implications of this for policy practice. Interviews and focus groups were held with 150 women, aged between the ages of 60 and 75 years, from a variety of African Caribbean, Asian, Polish and white non-migrant groups.
A Qualitative Study on the Quality of Life of Older Pakistani and Indian Migrant Women Living in West Yorkshire
The research focused on the later life experiences of older South Asian migrant women living in the North of England. A main aim was to examine the cumulative impact of life-course inequalities on their current quality of life.
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Hearn, J. and Wray, S. (2015) ‘Gender: implications of a contested area’. In: Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 201-209. ISBN 978-0-415-63114-3
Wray, S. and Yeadon-Lee, T. (2014) ‘Researching womens reinvention of self and identity during midlife’. In: BSA Ageing, Body and Society Study Group Conference 2014: Researching Bodies, 28 November 2014, British Library Conference Centre, London
Raikes, B., Wray, S., Locke, A., Lockwood, K. and Bartholomew, M. (2014) ‘Unsung Heroes: Grandparents caring for their grandchildren while their parent is in prison’. In: University Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Studies research café, 5 November 2014, Univertsity of Huddersfield
Wray, S. and Ali, N. (2014) ‘Understanding generation through the lens of ethnic and cultural diversity’ Families, Relationships and Societies , 3 (3), pp. 469-473. ISSN 2046-7435
Wray, S (2014) ‘"Good health thats all Im asking for: Older womens perceptions and experiences of health and well being across ethnic diversity’. In: Taking Transculturalism and Diversity Beyond Boundaries: Exploring the Experiences of Underrepresented Groups, 7th March 2014, The University of Huddersfield
Wray, S (2014) ‘Ageing, embodiment and ethnicity: some key methodological Issues’. In: Doing Real World Research in Sports Studies. : Routledge. . ISBN 978-0-415-50525-3
Wray, S (2013) ‘Exploring grand mothering across ethnic and cultural diversity’. In: Third International Conference on Aging and Society, 8th-9th November 2013, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Wray, S. and Rae, R. (2013) Personal and Public Lives and Relationships in a Changing Social World . : Cambridge Scholar Publishing. ISBN 9781443849685
Wray, S (2012) ‘Methods of working with black and ethnic minority older women’. In: ESRC Seminar: Developing research capacity in black and ethnic minority ageing studies, 8th November 2012, London, UK
Wray, S. and Bartholomew, M. (2012) ‘Issues of insiderness and outsiderness in two qualitative research projects with older African Caribbean women in the UK’. In: Current Issues in Sociology: Work and Minorities. Athens, Greece: Athens Institute for Education and Research. pp. 141-154. ISBN 9789609549776
Wray, S (2012) ‘This is your life you have to live with the memories: Older migrant womens reflections on living with the past’ The International Journal of Aging in Society , 1 (3), pp. 35-48. ISSN 2160-1909
Wray, S (2011) ‘This Is Your Life You Have to Live with the Memories: Older UK Migrant Womens Reflections on Living with the Past’. In: Aging and Society Interdisciplinary Conference 2011, 8th - 9th November 2011, Berkeley, California, USA
Wray, S (2011) ‘This is your life you have to live with the memories': Older Pakistani and Indian migrant women's reflections on living with the past’. In: Understanding the Social World Conference 2011, 13th - 15th July 2011, University of Huddersfield
Wray, S (2011) ‘This is Your Life You Have to Live with the Memories: Older Pakistani and Indian Migrant Womens Reflections on Living with the Past’. In: British Society of Gerontology 40th Annual Conference, 5th - 7th July 2011, Plymouth, UK
Wray, S (2010) ‘The significance of Western health promotion discourse for older women from diverse ethnic backgrounds’. In: Women and Exercise: The Body, Health and Consumerism. London: Routledge. . ISBN 9780415871204
Wray, S (2010) ‘Social Inclusion and Exclusion: Experiences of Older South Asian Women in the UK’. In: International Federation on Ageing Global Conference 2010, 3rd - 6th May 2010, Melbourne, Australia
Wray, S. and Bartholomew, M. (2010) ‘Some reflections on outsider and insider identities in ethnic and migrant qualitative research’ Migration Letters , 7 (1), pp. 7-16. ISSN 1741-8984
Wray, S (2010) ‘South Asian women growing older: Social capital and life-course inequalities’. In: BSA Annual Conference 2010 - Inequalities & Social Justice, 7th - 9th April 2010, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
Wray, S (2010) ‘Women Growing Older: Agency, ethnicity and culture’. In: Structure and Agency. : Sage. . ISBN 9781848600317
Deery, R. and Wray, S. (2009) ‘'The hardest leap': acceptance of diverse body size in midwifery’ Practising Midwife , 12 (10), pp. 14-16. ISSN 1461-3123
Wray, S (2009) ‘Interrogating the Insider Outsider Binary in Qualitative Research: Insider, Outsider or Both?’. In: 9th Conference of the European Sociological Association: European Society or European Societies?, 2nd - 5th September 2009, Lisbon, Portugal
Wray, S (2009) ‘The Influence of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity on Women's Embodied Experiences of Ageing’. In: BSA Ageing, Body and Society Study Group Conference: Body Work in Health and Social Care, 6th September 2009, London, UK
Afshar, H., Franks, M., Maynard, M. and Wray, S. (2008) Women in later life: exploring race and ethnicity . Berkshire, UK: Open University Press/McGraw Hill. ISBN 9780335215263
Deery, R. and Wray, S. (2008) ‘Theorising Obesity: Women, Biomedicine & Health’. In: Fat Studies in the UK, 2nd May 2008, York, UK
Wray, S (2008) ‘Exercise, health and well-being: the experiences of midlife women from diverse ethnic backgrounds’. In: Research seminar, University of Brighton, 3rd March 2008, Brighton, UK
Wray, S. and Deery, R. (2008) ‘The medicalization of body size and women's healthcare’ Health Care for Women International , 29 (3), pp. 227-243. ISSN 0739-9332
Wray, S (2007) ‘Exercise regimes and well being: The experiences of midlife women from diverse ethnic backgrounds’. In: 4th World Congress of Sociology of Sport (in conjunction with the International Sport History Association) "Sport in a Global World; Past, Present & Future", August 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark
Wray, S (2007) ‘Health, Exercise, and Well-Being: The Experiences of Midlife Women from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds’ Social Theory & Health , 5 (2), pp. 126-144. ISSN 1477-8211
Wray, S (2007) ‘To what extent does ethnic and cultural diversity influence women's experiences of growing older?’. In: Families, Life Course and Generations Research Centre Seminar, 22 February 2007, Leeds
Wray, S (2007) ‘Women making sense of mid-life: ethnic and cultural diversity’ Journal of aging studies , 21 (1), pp. 31-42. ISSN 0890-4065
Wray, S (2007) ‘To what extent do ethnic & cultural diversity influence womens experiences of growing older?’. In: Age & Gender, Ikaantyminen ja Sukupuoli edited collection. : The Age Institute. pp. 1-13. ISBN 978958529255x
Wray, S (2006) ‘The influence of migratory experiences on the health and well being of older women’. In: British Society of Gerontology 35th Annual Meeting, The Ageing Jigsaw: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Old Age, 7th - 9th September 2006, University of Wales
Wray, S (2006) ‘How does physical activity contribute to the health and well being of older women from diverse ethnic backgrounds?’. In: 2nd World Ageing & Generations Congress, 27th - 29th September 2006, Switzerland
Wray, S. and Bartholomew, M. (2006) ‘Older African Caribbean women: the influence of migration on experiences of health and well-being in later life’ Research Policy and Planning , 24 (2), pp. 103-119. ISSN 0264-519X
Wray, S (2006) ‘CHD in African and Caribbean origin populations: the challenges ahead and the strategies for action’. In: British Heart Foundation seminar, June 2006, London, UK
Wray, S (2005) ‘What Constitutes Good Health? The perceptions and experiences of older African Caribbean women’. In: Inclusion and Exclusion 2005 Exploring the Messages for Policy and Practice of Research on Racism and Ethnicity, 9th November 2005, London, UK
Wray, S (2005) ‘Difference and inequality: How can sociology transform the lives of older women?’. In: Challenging Orthodoxy: The Public Function of Sociology? Departmental Centenary Conference, 8th - 9th September 2005, University of Liverpool
Afshar, H., Maynard, M., Franks, M. and Wray, S. (2005) Empowerment and disempowerment: a comparative study of afro-caribbean, asian and white British women in their third age ESRC
Wray, S (2005) ‘Researching across ethnic diversity’. In: Leeds Metropolitan University Seminar, March 2005, Leeds, UK
Wray, S (2005) ‘Making sense of mid-life: Women, ethnicity and culture’. In: The British Sociological Association Annual Conference, 23rd March 2005, University of York
Wray, S. and Deery, R. (2004) ‘'Fatness' as an embodied expression of oppression in the health care setting’. In: The British Sociological Association Annual Conference, 2224 March 2004, University of York
Wray, S (2004) ‘What constitutes agency and empowerment for women in later life? Toward the development of a culturally sensitive theoretical framework to examine ageing’ The sociological review , 52 (1), pp. 22-38. ISSN 0038-0261
Wray, S (2003) ‘Connecting agency, ethnicity and ageing’ Sociological research online , 8 (4). ISSN 1360-7804
Wray, S (2003) ‘Women growing older: agency, ethnicity and culture’ Sociology: The journal of the British Sociological Association , 37 (3), pp. 511-528. ISSN 0038-0385
Long, J. and Wray, S. (2003) ‘It depends who you are: on asking difficult questions in leisure research’ Loisir et Societe , 26 (1), pp. 169-182. ISSN 0705-3436
Wray, S. and Latham, N. (2003) ‘Connecting health and ethnic identity: The impact of ethnic and cultural diversity on womens health during mid life’. In: 6th Conference of the European Sociological Association Ageing Societies, New Sociology, 23rd - 26th September, Murcia, Spain
Wray, S (2002) ‘What constitutes agency and empowerment for women in later life? Towards the development of a culturally sensitive theoretical framework with which to examine ageing’. In: The British Sociological Association Conference: Reshaping the Social, April 2002, Leicester, UK
Afshar, H., Maynard, M., Franks, M. and Wray, S. (2002) ‘Issues of ethnicity in researching older women’ Growing older: the ESRC research programme on extending quality of life (4), pp. 8-9.
Afshar, H., Franks, M., Maynard, M. and Wray, S. (2002) ‘Gender ethnicity and empowerment in later life’ Quality in ageing - Policy, practice and research , 3 (1), pp. 27-33. ISSN 1471-7794
Wray, S (2001) ‘Connecting ethnicity, gender and physicality: Muslim Pakistani women, physical activity and health’. In: Gender and sport: a reader. London: Routledge. pp. 127-140. ISBN 9780415259521
Afshar, H., Franks, M., Maynard, M. and Wray, S. (2001) ‘Empowerment, disempowerment and quality of life for older women’ Generations Review: Journal of the british Society of Gerontology , 11 (4), pp. 12-13. ISSN 0965-2000
Wray, S (2001) ‘Reconceptualizing later life: women, agency and resistance’. In: DSA Women and Development Conference, May 2001, York, UK
Wray, S (2001) ‘Towards an Inclusive Feminist Political Agenda: Connecting Different Spaces and Knowledge Claims’. In: Jordanian Womens Contemporary Issues International Conference, March 2001, University of Jordan
Wray, S (1999) ‘Rethinking methodology: Taking account of difference and diversity in the research process’. In: The British Sociological Association Conference: For Sociology, April 1999, Glasgow, UK
- Editor: Ageing and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal
- Member of the Editorial Board, Sociological Research Online Journal
- Member, Academic Advisory Forum The Runnymede Trust
- External Examiner, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen
- Journal peer reviews
- Book reviews
- Research Council (ESRC, British Medical Council) grant reviewer
2009-2010: Associate Editor; Sociology Journal of the British Sociological Association.
Key notes and invitations
- November 2012: Invited speaker ESRC seminar entitled; 'Ageing, race and ethnicity', Brunel University.
- May 2008: Invited round table speaker; Fat Studies in the UK, University of York.
- March 2008: Invited speaker presentation entitled; ‘Does Physical Activity Contribute to the Health & Well-Being of Older Women from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds?’ University of Brighton.
- February 2007: Invited speaker presentation entitled; ‘To What Extent Does Ethnic diversity Influence Older Women’s Experiences of Ageing’? Families Life Course and Generations Research Centre (FLAG), University of Leeds.
- November 2006: Invited round table speaker: ‘Gender, Ethnicity and Ageing’. Gender and Ageing Conference, University of Helsinki.
- November 2006: Keynote address entitled; ‘Women and Ageing Across Ethnic Diversity’. Gender and Ageing Conference, University of Helsinki, Finland.
- June 2006: ‘CHD in African and Caribbean Origin Populations: The Challenges Ahead and the Strategies for Action'. The British Heart Foundation, London.
- March 2005: Invited speaker presentation entitled; ‘Researching Across Ethnic Diversity’. Leeds Metropolitan University.
- May 2001: Keynote address entitled; ‘Reconceptualizing Later Life: Women, Agency and Resistance’. DSA Women and Development Conference, University of York.
- March 2001: Keynote address entitled; ‘Towards an Inclusive Feminist Political Agenda: Connecting Different Spaces and Knowledge Claims’. Jordanian Women’s Contemporary Issues International Conference. University of Jordan.
Research Degree Supervision
- Ageing and later life
- Inter-generational research
- Ethnic and cultural diversity
- Health and well-being
- Diversity and equity issues
- Associate Director, the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research
- Member, School of Human and Health Sciences Research and Enterprise Committee
- Member, University Equality and Diversity Enhancement Group
Teaching and Professional Activities
- Module Leader: Health, Identity and Social Change
- Module Tutor: Race, Ethnicities and Culture
- Guest lectures: MSc Health and Social Care and the Professional Doctorate programme