The marking of someone’s lifelong academic and professional contribution is all too rare so I was delighted when the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness offered to fund a celebration of the life and work of my husband and colleague, Gareth Williams.
The event was directly supported by fellow medical sociologists including our own Professor Ian Rees Jones, together with Professor Jennie Popay, Professor Graham Scambler and Professor Jon Gabe. All are well known for their scholarship in their own fields of work in the discipline.
The event was wonderfully supported by the School of Social Sciences, in particular members of the professional services staff two of whom, Deb Watkins and Mel Evans, had worked with Gareth and whose qualities, skills and expertise he greatly valued in his own working life.
The event started with a welcome and introduction to Wales, as his move to the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University at the dawn of devolution offered exciting academic, political and personal possibilities. He had always thought of himself as fundamentally Welsh!
I hope you enjoy the recording. You can dip into contributions from esteemed colleagues, old and new from the School of Social Sciences and from medical sociologists who continue to share his interest in chronic disease and narrative based research or, latterly, in health inequalities. You can also hear from former students and from colleagues working alongside him on the journal of which he was editor-in-chief: The Sociology of Health and Illness.
Finally, you can hear from collaborators from Welsh Government and from community activists who reflect on his life as a public sociologist and his conviction that knowledge for social change should be grounded in the contexts in which people live.
What you will not see is the real sense of joy in the breaks where people shared stories about a man that they loved and now miss. This event was a true celebration of a life well lived.
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