Data Debates Online: Talking About My Generation

Yellow signpost with signs stating "Baby Boomers" and "Millennials"

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What does data really tell us about the generational divide?

This is a live online event. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

From housing and employment prospects to differing values and political views – our age is often portrayed as defined by a growing generational divide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted further intergenerational differences, with the elderly considered more at risk health wise and millennials, financially. Even before the pandemic, the media has often reinforced age-related stereotypes – on one side, baby boomers who got the best of the post-war economic boom, in the process getting richer and more conservative politically, and millennials, technology savvy and individualistic, political ‘snowflakes’, experiencing an adulthood of precarious employment and housing.

What does data tell us about these apparent generational inequalities and what are the implications for society? Have we really never had it so good? Could things be about to change as the world reluctantly concedes to the “new normal”?

We address current debates about how COVID-19 has exacerbated generational divides and exposed inequalities in mental health and wellbeing, housing, employment, access to green space and other areas.

Chaired by broadcaster and journalist Timandra Harkness.

The panelists

Jennie Bristow is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, an Associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, and a writer and commentator on the ‘generation wars’.

Angus Hanton is a Co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, a vehemently independent and non-party-political think tank that focuses on intergenerational fairness in the UK.

Florian Hertel studies the causes and effects of social inequality in postindustrial societies. Specifically, he is interested in understanding what drives social mobility trends and international variation in intergenerational mobility.

Tracey Skillington is Director of the BA (Sociology) in the Department of Sociology & Criminology, University College Cork. She is the author of two monographs on global climate change, Climate Justice and Human Rights (2017, Palgrave) and Climate Change and Intergenerational Justice (2019, Routledge).

David Sturrock is a Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His recent work has looked at the savings and wealth holdings of different generations and the impact of inheritances on inequality.

Ganna Pogrebna is a decision theorist and a behavioral scientist. She is currently a Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Birmingham, a Research Fellow at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick and a Turing Fellow.

The Rt Hon Lord David Willetts FRS is the President of the Resolution Foundation and chaired their Intergenerational Commission. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the No.10 Policy Unit. Last year he published a second edition of his book The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took their Children’s Future - and Why They Should Give it Back. He is a member of the Board of UKRI.

Data Debates is a collaboration between The Alan Turing Institute and the British Library and aims to stimulate discussion on issues surrounding big data, its potential uses, and its implications for society.

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Name: Data Debates Online: Talking About My Generation
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
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