Sheffield u3a

Research and Shared Learning


Lead: Martin Harvey email harveymk@yahoo.co.uk
Gordon Dabinett email gordondabinett@gmail.com
Jo Beadle email jojobeadle@yahoo.co.uk

Projects with Partners

are opportunities for members to engage in research and contribute to shared learning in partnership with Sheffield’s universities, research institutes, museums and other organisations. The knowledge, skills and life experiences which u3a members bring can add greatly to projects of all kinds. You may contribute to researcher-led projects because you have a particular interest or life experience; you may engage in some research yourself as part of a larger project; or you may wish to devise and conduct your own original project. Your involvement offers a friendly way to learn alongside others and should be both stimulating and fun. Participation is generally not time consuming as many projects are completed online. No academic qualifications, previous experience or expertise is required. Whatever the opportunity the Research and Shared Learning Group is here to help!

All the project opportunities listed here have been reviewed against our agreed criteria (see below) before posting. For each project we have given the name of the researcher, whom you can contact directly, and the name of the RSL link person for that project. If there are any glitches we can help to sort out, or if you have any feedback, we are keen to hear about your experiences. Wherever possible we have included the timescale of each project.

Agreed Criteria:
1. Relevant to healthy or active ageing
2. Have university or NHS ethical approval and comply with TAT research ethics statement
3. Is not commercial and does not promote the services and products of other organisations
4. Is not physically, socially or mentally intrusive.

ProjectsProject Organiser
Robot Assisted Timed up and go Test - Until Mid April 2024
Matt Story of Sheffield Hallam University is looking for participants in a project that involves 
timed sessions with robots and has asked if any Su3a members would be interested. 
Recent research has shown that intelligent robotic technologies and sensors can provide services for independent living to older people through supporting and promoting an active and healthy lifestyle. Previous focus groups and interviews with older people and care professionals have highlighted the risks of sedentary lifestyles and the impacts these can have on frailty and fall risk. To address these challenges, we are developing a system for deployment on a robot using vision to conduct a Timed Up and Go (TUG) test which is a commonly used metric when evaluating a person’s mobility.
For more information click here.
Family Photos and Family Histories - Ongoing
Talk by Dr Mandy Topp on fashion in photos 10.30 am 29th February 2024  details of the zoom link will  be circulated closer to the event.

This national u3a project, aims to look into the way families document their lives and experiences through photography. Comprehensive 'step by step' guides can be found at https://randomresources.weebly.com/26-09-23-resources.html .
Other useful websites are:
https://www.photo-consult.co.uk/about (Steve Gill, photo specialist)
https://blog.myheritage.com/2023/08/introducing-photodater-an-exclusive-free-new-feature-to-estimate-when-old-photos-were-taken/ (using AI to date photos)
https://www.knowwhowearsthegenesinyourfamily.com/blog/myheritage-new-photo-date-estimation-feature-photodater (using AI to date photos)
A Facebook group has been set up at https://www.facebook.com/groups/familiesandtheirphotos
To be added to the group mailing list to receive information about this project and notification of any Zoom meetings please email slp@u3a.org.uk
Date of next meeting:
The RSL link for this project is Martin Harvey
Their Finest Hour - until December 2024

This Heritage Lottery-funded nationwide campaign organised by the University of Oxford to collect and preserve the everyday stories and objects from WW2, either from the survivors who can remember the war as children or from the next
generation who can pass on the stories handed down by their parents. As these personal stories are fast fading from living memory, it is vital to preserve them and the wartime objects that often go with them. To get involved click
The RSL link for this project is Martin Harvey

Multi-tasking and Speech - ongoing

The aim of this research is to provide a basis for future research to find new assessment and treatment methods for adults with a speech disorders caused by neurological problems. The researcher needs members who are 55 - 75 ,in generally good health, who do not have a speech impairment so that they can be compared with people who do. The research involves an individual online session with the researcher, which would take a maximum of one hour. You will carry out separate speech and hand movement tasks and then speech and hand movements simultaneously.
For more information click here or Email Tugay Senlik at Sheffield University: tsenlik1@sheffield.ac.uk
The RSL link for this project is Gordon Dabinett

Laughing Through Retirement - until August 2024
Adam Carter, a researcher at Sheffield University, is looking for 4 families with a family member who is within 6 months of retiring, or who has retired in the last 2 years who would like to contribute to a project exploring the role of humour in stressful family situations.
Each family will be involved in the project for between 1 and 2 months,The project will run until February 2024 and each family will be involved in the project for between 2 and 3 months.
Taking part involves:
- an initial conversation about the participant's sense of humour
- a period where the family is provided with a video camera to capture any funny and/or stressful situations related to retirement,
- a follow-up interview where we look back at some of the video footage and think about how we use humour in everyday life.
For more information click here or contact Adam: adam.d.carter@sheffield.ac.uk

The RSL link for this project is Martin Harvey

The Healthy Lifespan Institute - ongoing
is one of Sheffield University's four flagship institutions, aimed at helping people live fulfilling, independent lives for longer. Sheffield u3a have formed a partnership with HELSI to ensure research into healthy ageing incorporates the lived experiences of older people. The partnership helps Healthy Lifespan researchers incorporate the insights and expertise of u3a members into their research activity. One focus is on working with people who are experiencing two or more chronic health conditions (multimorbidity). For more information about this exciting and wide-ranging project click here. Gemma Stephens (g.stephens@sheffield.ac.uk)
RSL link Gordon Dabinett

Recently Completed Project Updates

Lifelong Learning Research

The conclusions of this fascinating research project with Sheffield University can be accessed here

Older People Working Part Time

Our research with Sheffield University, looking at how managers and union representatives, within the health, retail, banking and finance sectors, have managed or represented older people who work part time has recently ended. The researcher Rachel Crossdale is currently in the process of writing up her research on how workplace policy procedures affect this category of workers.

Which streets are safe to walk in at night?

This project, by Sheffield University, asked members to submit photos of streets where they felt either safe or not to walk at night.

How Local High Streets have changed

This national u3a project started in September 2020 and had three tiers of activity: surveying local shopping streets, taking photos, and identifying a local idea or ideas to explore further. The process of uploading over 24,700 photographs and data has now been completed. Sheffield U3A made a significant contribution which can be seen at Sheffield Data. This project has achieved an impressive record of our “sense of place“. To view the entire site contents click www.u3ahighstreet.co.uk.
Photo Sharing on the Internet - Differences Between Older and Younger People

This project required participants to complete a questionnaire. It is for a dissertation towards an MA Digital Media and Society. It is looking at the potentially different behaviours and motivation of younger and older people when they share photos on social media.
The researcher is Chen Zheng.