About the Research


The aim of this project is to explore the significance of the ordinary and day-to-day and focus on the everyday meanings, lived experiences, practical activities, and social contexts in which people in mid to later life live their daily lives. In particular, the project focuses upon the very ordinariness and mundanity of daily living; and the day-to-day practical activities and personal meanings embedded within personal, domestic and working lives.

In order to make these everyday lives visible, the project has involved visual methods (photographic diaries) and in-depth interviews (photo elicitation) with 62 women and men who are aged 50 years and over with different types of daily routines.

The aim of this approach has been to make visible the ordinary and everyday as well as explore the disruptions, vulnerabilities, complexities, fluidity and changing nature of ageing so that important insights can be gained and our understandings and theorising enhanced. In particular, the research has aimed to be much closer to lived experiences and how people give meaning and engage with their own everyday liveson their own terms.

Aims and Objectives

  • To explore the method of photography as a means to map, explore and document the daily and lived experiences and meanings of people in mid to later life.
  • To reveal important insights and theoretical understandings about the everyday lives of men and women with different daily routines aged 50 years and over.
  • To explore the possibilities and dilemmas of the use of photography as a means to explore the daily lives of people in mid to later life.
  • To make visible and provide novel insights into the ordinary and day to day lives of people in mid to later life.

Research Design

We recruited 62 participants who were asked to take photographs for one week that focus on their daily routines. Participants could choose what to photograph (or not), and how many photographs to take, throughout their weekly visual diary. These photographs were then explored during in-depth interviews, in which the researcher and participant looked through the images together on a laptop computer, to elicit the meaning and context of the visual diaries. The sample included a diverse range of women and men, aged between 50 to 85 years old, who have different daily routines. The textual and visual data is being thematically analysed using Atlas Ti.

Ethical approval has been granted by the Brunel University Research Ethics Committee for this research.

The project duration is January 2010 - June 2013.


This study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through a first-grants scheme (project reference RES-061-25-0459) and is organised by the School of Health Sciences and Social Care at Brunel University.

More information about the ESRC can be found here: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/

The project outline on the ESRC website can also be found here: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-061-25-0459/read