Portrait of Dr Sharon Wray Dr Sharon Wray

s.wray@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472796


  • 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.

Research interests

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.

Research projects

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.



  • 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
  • Gender
  • Health and well-being
  • Diversity and equity issues

Administrative Responsibilities

  • 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

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