culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Kazuki Yamada

Centre Associate

I hold a BSc (Hons) in Life Sciences specialising in Biomedical Science (2015), and an MA in Ageing & Society (King’s College London, 2016)—an interdisciplinary degree in gerontology. My MA research engaged Filipino professional caregivers caring for older people in London and investigated how these carers’ own expectations of ageing for themselves and their families back home were shaped by this transnational caring experience.

From 2016 to 2017 I worked with the London secretariat of HelpAge International, a non-governmental organisation advocating for the equity and rights of older people throughout the world. With HelpAge, I primarily supported the Department of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications towards developing the Age Demands Action campaign with particular focus on developing syntheses of academic and grey literature; campaign performance evaluations and indicators; and campaign toolkits.

Subsequently moving to Geneva, Switzerland, I began work with the World Health Organization’s Department of Ageing and Life Course. Primarily engaged with research synthesis, knowledge exchange, and communications, I support the development of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030), the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities, and the Platform for Population Ageing.

In January 2018 I began a dual PhD on later life sexuality funded by the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland (Australia). As a part of the QUEX Institute for Global Sustainability and Wellbeing, my research project is affiliated with the Wellcome-funded Rethinking Sexology project at Exeter, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Queensland.

Highlights of my career to date

As an early career researcher, I have benefited immensely from working with the World Health Organization towards achieving their vision of healthy ageing for everyone, everywhere. Being involved in their foundational work during the early years of the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health 2016-2020, especially around ageism and age-friendly environments, has been instrumental in developing my interest in the role of normative work, conceptual frameworks, and definitions of what counts as ‘knowledge’ and ‘evidence’ within the contemporary global health landscape.

My research

My project aims to contribute to an understanding of why ageing as sexual decline became a dominant way of understanding the relationship between sexuality and the life course. I am supervised by Professor Kate Fisher and Dr Jana Funke at Exeter, and Emeritus Professor Peter Cryle and Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens at Queensland.

I trace shifts in understandings of the sexual older person across the intellectual genealogies of the (Western) sciences of sex and ageing from the mid-nineteenth century onwards to understand how scientific thought has contributed to present-day Western stereotypes of sexual ageing. Within this, I pay particular attention to how sociohistorically specific models of sexual temporality operated as conceptual preconditions for the scientific formulation of diverse and often contradictory theories of sexual ageing. Ultimately, my research develops a basis for critiquing contemporary sexual ageism in health research by demonstrating its reliance on one, sociohistorically contingent version of the sexual life course as a normative definition of how sexuality exists in time.

I am excited by the opportunity to be associated with the Wellcome Centre, whose research themes of transforming institutions and health across the life course particularly resonate with my project’s goals.

Something about me you can’t Google!

In a past life I was a choral singer (bass) competing at international level.