About this workshop

People often look forward to retirement, but it can be fraught with unforeseen challenges, beyond immediate changes in routine, retirement often brings with it a host of other changes – in health, in well-being, and most notably, in identity.

Speaking to these points, research led by The University of Queensland’s SIGNify team demonstrates the potential risks of declining health for people who are deeply anchored to their work identities or those who find themselves socially disconnected in retirement. Alongside this, researchers at the University of Exeter have explored the cultural, political and economic factors that shape people’s experiences of life transitions over time. Together, these lines of research suggest that efforts to improve health in later life need to be mindful of how identity, health and well-being in retirement are shaped by social and historical context.

This workshop will bring together and showcase findings from these two world-leading research programs. It will also provide attendees with insight into the dynamic changes that retirement involves and share practical tools to help people understand and prepare for the changes that retirement entails.

Workshop overview

This workshop will:

  • Bring together experts in retirement from around the world.

  • Dive deep into the pivotal role identity change and social connections have played in this transition across time.

  • Engage with applied research case studies, spanning the worlds of sports, veterans, and the general workforce.

  • Provide hands-on experience with the online Social Identity Mapping (oSIM) tool, which offers a tangible way to visualise and strategise social connections in retirement.

  • Include a facilitated panel discussion to brainstorm strategies for promoting a better understanding of retirement among industry leaders (e.g., in HR and the superannuation industries) and in the community at large.

Concluding with networking opportunities, this workshop aims to equip attendees with knowledge and actionable lessons to support a smoother, more fulfilling retirement transition.

For further information on our retirement research and resources please visit here.

Keynote speakers

Professor Catherine Haslam

Catherine is Professor of Clinical Psychology at UQ and the Director of SIGNify — a centre that translates the research of the Social Identity & Groups Network into practice. She is a clinical academic whose work focuses on the social and cognitive impacts of identity-changing life transitions (associated with trauma, illness and recovery, transitioning to study, retirement, aging) and interventions that can be used to manage these. In particular, her research on social connectedness, health and well-being has contributed to a body of work on the social cure that has been published in two volumes — The Social Cure: Identity, Health and Well-being (2012) and The New Psychology of Health: Unlocking the social cure (2018). This work has informed a suite of interventions to help people manage life change and its potential impact on both identity and health.


Professor Mark Jackson

Mark is Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Exeter. He qualified in medicine before completing a PhD on the history of infanticide in early modern England. His research has explored the cultural contexts of scientific knowledge and medical practice in a number of areas, including the histories of allergies, asthma and stress.  As founding Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Culture and Health, he has developed new interdisciplinary approaches to health and well-being across the life course, with a particular interest in life transitions. His latest book, Broken Dreams: An Intimate History of the Midlife Crisis, examines the ways in which modern notions and experiences of middle age have been shaped by culture and political context.   

For further details contact:

SIGN (Social Identity and Groups Network), The University of Queensland at sign@psy.uq.edu.au

About Getting Retirement Right: New approaches to identity change and fulfilment

Tuesday 6 February, Terrace Room, Level 6, Sir Llew Edwards Building (Building 14), St Lucia