Charles Musselwhite

Jul 12, 04:47 PM
My guest this week is Charles Musselwhite, Professor in Psychology at Aberystwyth. Charles is a specialist in gerontology with a particular focus on how people engage with place in terms of age. He first went to Lampeter to study Archaeology and Charles talks about how that experience underpinned what he thinks now. We learn that he prefers a bottom up approach to his research, asking how someone lives their life and we learn how, for example, transport is more about people than vehicles.

After Lampeter Charles went to Southampton to study Psychology and later did a PhD looking at how young boy racers change in their lifetime. We look at the role of nostalgia vis-a-vis the people that Charles interviews, and the views that older people who are housebound see from their windows. Charles also talks about how the most interesting bits in people’s lives are often the everyday and ordinary ones rather than the extraordinary events.

He grew up near Portsmouth, his parents were teachers, and Charles remembers once seeing his headmaster throwing up in his parents’ downstairs toilet at 3am. He talks about how he can feel and smell the past as well as see it. 

Charles talks about how gratifying it is when students tell you how much they learned from your teaching. He didn’t complete his degree at Lampeter and Charles explains why he doesn’t now want to be a Professor who doesn’t teach. 

Musically, Charles has always been into progressive rock and he recounts the time when he went down from Lampeter to see Marillion in concert in Cardiff in January 1994 and how he especially remembers the most unusual of journeys there. We discuss how the journey is often as important as the destination.

Charles reveals that he suffers from rose tinted glasses syndrome and he talks about the importance of keeping diaries in terms of correcting the way we look at things. He’s not very good at parking the past, he tells us why returning to Lampeter is restorative and unique and we finish by reflecting on how our friendships often evolve in ways we might not have anticipated.

Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Charles Musselwhite and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.