Lorna_Warren.jpgDr Lorna Warren

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

(BSc (Joint Hons), PhD)

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-6416-4747


Telephone: 0114 222 6468 (external), 26468 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, LG24


Lorna obtained her BSc (Joint Honours Sociology and Psychology) and PhD (Anthropology) from the University of Salford, where she also cut her teeth as a lecturer. She first moved to the Department of Sociological Studies in 1989 to work on an evaluation of the Neighbourhood Support Units initiative in Sheffield, building on her doctoral study of older people and home help. She re-joined the Department in 1994 to take up a Lectureship in Social Policy, having been employed as a Lecturer in Community Care in the Institute of Health Studies at Durham University for three years. Lorna is winner of a University of Sheffield Senate Award for Sustained Excellence in Learning and Teaching, a Trustee of the Princess Royal Trust Sheffield Carers Centre, and a member of the Advisory Group for the international Stories for the Soul initiative.



Lorna’s research career has centred on the topics of ageing and care, though at times it has extended to other aspects of community and health services and other service user groups. She has held grants under 4 major research programmes, local (DWP/ Sheffield City Council), UK (ESRC) and European (EC). Her early studies focussed on understanding and evaluating care provision. More recently, she has worked with colleagues in the arts exploring the broader representation of ageing, though retaining a concern with issues of inclusion and well-being. In her most recent research, Lorna has collaborated with colleagues from dentistry to look at the significance of the mouth in old age. Lorna draws from a mix of anthropological, social policy, sociological, social gerontological, and feminist perspectives and approaches, which she has also applied in her interdisciplinary studies. Key themes running through her work include social and cultural dimensions of ageing, intergenerational relations and informal or family care relationships, and the intersection of age with other critical differences including gender and sexuality. She has used a range of qualitative methods: structured and semi-structured interviews, life stories, focus groups, and creative visual arts-based approaches. Practice and policy-related concerns remain a central focus of her work and Lorna is committed to participatory ways of working that engage both participants and stakeholders, raising questions about how we come to know what we know about the lives of people who use services and the connection of this knowledge with social care policy and practice.

Recent Projects

Significance of the Mouth in Old Age

Lorna was co-applicant on this 15-month project, which was funded by Glaxosmithkline (Feb 2016-July 2017, extended). The cross-institutional, interdisciplinary research team also included co-investigators Professors Barry Gibson (University of Sheffield), Peter Robinson (University of Bristol) and Angus Walls (University of Edinburgh), and Research Associate Jennifer Kettle (University of Sheffield). The study conducted narrative interviews with older people in Sheffield and Edinburgh to explore their experiences relating to the mouth and teeth across the life-course. It identified the concept of ‘mouth talk’ to capture how individuals re/frame experiences of mouth and teeth to present a coherent sense of self. Three articles developing the concept have been published in 2018. The following video documents the results of a 2-day event, Mouth Stories, in which findings from the project were shared with members of the public:

Look at Me! (Representing Self – Representing Ageing)

Lorna was principle investigator on this project (2009-20012, extended), which was funded under the cross-disciplinary New Dynamics of Ageing Programme. The cross-institutional research team also included co-investigators Professor Merryn Gott (University of Auckland) and Professor Susan Hogan (University of Derby), and Research Assistant Dr Naomi Richards (now at the University of Glasgow), amongst others.
Officially titled Representing Self – Representing Ageing but known more familiarly by the title of Look at Me!, the project worked with women in Sheffield to explore representations of women and ageing in the media and to generate new images to challenge existing stereotypes. Described as pioneering, the study won an ESRC Outstanding Impact on Society Award for demonstrating how image can affect older women’s quality of life and the need to raise awareness of the combined effects of ageism and sexism earlier in the life-course. Its innovative, multidisciplinary approach generated iconoclastic participant images displayed at UK exhibitions and international conferences, and ensuring older women’s central involvement in challenging stereotypes. Both images and films from the project continue to be used internationally in teaching and research. Collaboration with participants was extended through a follow-on initiative delivering ageism awareness workshops in a local school. Wider societal impacts include citation of project findings by the cross-party Commission on Older Women and the launch of a Charter against Ageism and Sexism in the Media.

For more project information click here.

All Funded Research Projects

For a summary of all of Lorna’s funded research, see the table and video below.


Funding Body

Title of Research

Funding and Partners

February 2016 - June 2017


The Significance of the Mouth in Old Age.


Co-I with Barry Gibson, Dentistry; Peter Robinson (PI), Uni of Bristol; and Angus Wall, University of Edinburgh.

October 2012 - March 2014

Faculty of Social Science, University of Sheffield

Advanced Research Fellowship.


December 2009 - August 2012 (extended from December 2011)


The social process of everyday decision-making by people with dementia and their spouses.


Co-I with Geraldine Boyle (PI), Bradford University.

October 2009 - November 2012

Cross-council New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) Programme

Representing Self - Representing Ageing (Look At Me!).


PI, with Co-Is Merryn Gott, Auckland University and Susan Hogan, Derby University.

November 2005 - April 2006

University of Sheffield, Knowledge Transfer Opportunity Fund (KTOF)

Carer Involvement in Research, Policy and Practice.


PI, in collaboration with Princess Royal Trust Sheffield Carers Centre.

January 2003 - January 2005

EC Framework Programme 5 Accompanying Measure,

Mapping Existing Research and Identifying Knowledge Gaps Concerning the Situation of Older Women in Europe.


Co-I in team of 12 countries led by Karin Stiehr (PI), Institut für Soziale Infrastruktur, Frankfurt/ Main, Germany.

November 1999 - June 2002

ESRC Growing Older (GO) Programme

Older Women’s Lives and Voices: Participation and Policy in Sheffield.

Growing Older Programme.

Older Women's Lives and Voices.


PI, with Co-I Tony Maltby, Birmingham University.

November 1999 - May 2001

Averil Osborn Fund

Working with Older People – Resource Pack.


PI, with Co-I Joyce Cormie (freelance researcher.

November 1998 - October 2001

DWP/ Sheffield City Council funded PhD Studentship (Mike Williams)

Better Government for Older People Pilot Project Evaluation.


PI/ PhD supervisor, with Professor Alan Walker.

March 1997 - March 1998

Averil Osborn Fund

Older Women in the UK.


PI, with Co-I Tony Maltby, Birmingham University.

Post-doctoral Supervision/ Mentorship

Lorna has also been supervisor/mentor to 2 ESRC Postdoctoral Fellows, both now post-holders at Russell Group Universities.

Date Postdoctoral Fellow Title of Research Funding Body
May 2012-
March 2014
(inc maternity leave)
Dr Naomi Richards The Readiness is All: Ways People Anticipate Dying in the U.K. ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship,
October 2004-
September 2005
Dr Elaine Argyle Older People and Their Money: An Exploration of Financial Management and Expenditure ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship,


Lorna teaches and supervises students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She takes an inquiry-based approach, encouraging students to think outside the box, to draw critically from their own experiences and to be original in their thinking and ideas. Lorna believes that one of the best ways for students to learn is by finding out things for themselves through research, testing existing theories and learning first-hand the vital contribution of empirical and grounded knowledge. The majority of her teaching is research-led, drawing on - and in turn developing - her research interests and experience. Lorna brings into the classroom the participatory approaches she uses in her research, encouraging students to work in groups, as well as on an individual basis, to investigate social and cultural issues and to present their findings in dynamic and creative ways.

Lorna currently convenes the following undergraduate modules:

  • SCS1005 Gender, Sexuality and Society
  • SCS1015 Doing Social Research
  • SCS688 Dementia and Identity (co-convenor with Berni Murphy)

Lorna is also involved in the supervision of students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels who are taking extended essays and/or dissertations.

See our Undergraduate Degree pages and Postgraduate taught degree pages.

Postgraduate Supervision

Lorna has supervised 15 students to successful completion at PhD (x 14) and MPhil (x 1) levels. Their research has covered the broad (and sometimes interrelated) themes of:

  • Ageing, Gender and Identity (older people and life stories; identity and belonging in men’s roller derby)
  • Care Services and Service Innovation (evaluation of the Sheffield Better Government for Older People pilot; extra care housing for people with dementia; material possessions and residential care)
  • Carers and Caring (carers of people with dementia; older carers and their material circumstances; male carers; older caring couples; family care for older people in Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Sexuality (older women and sexuality; transgender; and transsexuality).
  • Participation (public participation in Primary Care Trusts in Sheffield; feminist participatory action research with young men).

Three students completed their PhDs with the help of ESRC funding.

Lorna is currently supervising 4 PhD students (including 1 ESRC-funded student) working on topics which include collective belonging and communities; retired Irish migrants in London; reciprocity and caring for older people with dementia in Thailand; and mass media constructions of ‘class’ in the context of the economic crisis.

Lorna welcomes applications for PhD study, full-time or part-time, in areas related to her interests and experience. She would be particularly interested in hearing from students who wish to undertake research using a participatory approach(es).

Find out more about our PhD programmes.

Apply for a place and for the scholarship.


Key Publications

Gibson, B., Kettle, J. E., Warren, L., Walls, A. and Robinson, P.G. (2018) Oral care as a lifecourse project. Gerondontology, (Pre-print) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ger.12372?af=R

Kettle, J. E, Warren, L., Gibson, B., Walls, A., and Robinson, P. (2018) 'I didn't want to pass that onto my child, being afraid to go to the dentist': Making sense of oral health through narratives of connectedness over the life course. Sociology of Health and Illness. (Preprint) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9566.12845

Warren, L. (2018) Representing Self – Representing Ageing. In A. Walker (ed) The New Dynamics of Ageing Volume 2. Bristol: Policy Press, 219-242.

Warren, L. A., Kettle, J. E., Gibson, B., Walls, A., and Robinson, P. (2018). ‘I’ve got lots of gaps, but I want to hang on to the ones that I have’: The ageing body, oral health and stories of the mouth. Ageing & Society. (Preprint) http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X18001605

Warren, L. and Ellis J. (2016) Families and photography: An everyday lens on end of life. In: H. Thomas (ed.) Malady and Mortality: Illness, Disease and Death in Literary and Visual Culture. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 73-94.

Murray, M., Amigoni, D., Bernard, M., Crummet, A., Goulding, A., Munro, L., Newman, A., Rezanno, J., Rickett, M., Tew, P. and Warren, L. (2014) ‘Understanding and transforming ageing through the arts’ in A. Walker (ed) The New Science of Ageing, Bristol: Policy Press, chap3, 77-112.

Hogan, S. and Warren, L. (2013) ‘Women’s inequality: a global problem explored in participatory arts’, International Perspectives on Research-Guided Practice in Community-Based Arts in Health Special Issue, UNESCO Observatory, 3(3), 1-27. ISSN: 1835 – 2776. http://derby.openrepository.com/derby/handle/10545/582827

Warren, L. and Richards, N. (2012) ‘”I don’t see many images of myself coming back at myself’: representations of women and ageing’, in Ylänne, V. (ed) Representing Ageing: Images and Identities. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 149-168.

Hogan, S. and Warren, L. (2012) ‘Dealing with complexity in research processes and findings. How do older women negotiate and challenge images of ageing?’, Journal of Women and Ageing, 24(4), 329-350.

Richards, N., Warren, L. and Gott, M. (2012) ‘The challenge of creating 'alternative' images of ageing: Lessons from a project with older women’, Journal of Aging Studies, 26(1), 65-78.

Warren, L. and Boxall, K. (2009) ‘Users in and out of the academy: collusion in exclusion?’, Social Work Education, 28(3), 281-297.

Warren, L. and Clarke, A. (2009) ‘Woo hoo, what a ride: older people, life stories and active ageing’ in R. Edmondson and H-J. von Kondratowitz, (eds) Valuing Older People: A Humanist Approach to Ageing, Bristol: The Policy Press, 233-248.

Clarke, A. and Warren, L. (2007) ‘Hopes, Fears and Expectations about the Future. What do Older People’s Stories Tell Us about Active Ageing?’ Ageing and Society 27(4), 465-488.

Clarke, A. and Warren, L. (2006) 'Growing older - the good, the bad and the ugly: subjective views of ageing’, International Journal of Disability and Human Development 5(1), 61-67.

Monro. S. and Warren, L. (2004) ‘Transgendering citizenship’, in Sexualities 7(3), 345-362.

Warren, L. Cook, J., Clarke, N., Hadfield, P., Haywood-Reed, P., Millen, L., Parkinson, M., Robinson, J., and Winfield, W. (2003) ‘Working with older women in research: some methods-based issues’, Quality in Ageing 4(4), pp.24-31.

Cormie, J. and Warren, L. (2001) Working with Older People: Guidelines for Running Discussion Groups and Influencing Practice. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Warnes, T., Warren, L. and Nolan, M. (2000) Care Services for Later Life: Transformations and Critiques. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Barnes, M. and Warren L. (eds) (1999) Paths to Empowerment. Bristol: Policy Press.

Walker, A. and Warren, L. (1996) Changing Services for Older People: The Neighbourhood Support Units Innovation, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Warren, L. (1990) ‘Doing, Being, Writing: Research on Home Care for Older People,’ Feminist Praxis No. 31, University of Manchester: Manchester.

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.