The Military Afterlives project aims to understand how British veterans and their families have experienced the transition out of the military and back into civilian life. It uses a narrative methodology which means that it is interested in hearing the stories of veterans and their families, told in their own words.
The majority of research on veteran transition has evaluated social indicators such as employment figures, welfare provision, access to services and health outcomes, for example, rates of alcoholism, PTSD, and other impairments. What is missing is an understanding of the ways veterans and their families experience transition and make sense of it in their own lives. The Military Afterlives project aims to start addressing this gap by conducting interviews with veterans in South West England. We are looking for research participants to take part in interviews across the South West and you can contact us to find out more about the research or express an interest in participating.
Veterans have been involved in the design of the research and two of the research team are veterans. Dr Sarah Bulmer leads the project and has been involved in research with the British veteran community for five years. Sarah’s research explores the personal experience of military service and aims to use knowledge about that to change how society engages with war and the armed forces. Dr David Jackson, a veteran himself, has championed the importance of hearing veterans’ voices in his own research. David has drawn on his own experience of transition to shape the approach taken in the Military Afterlives project. Dr Richard Davis, also a veteran, joined the project team more recently to assist with finalising the project design, supporting recruitment of participants and developing networks with veterans’ organisations so that the research findings can be shared with them.
You can read more about the research team here. The research is being carried out by the University of Exeter and is supported by the Volkswagen Foundation.