Joanna Bornat is Emeritus Professor in oral history and was a member of the Faculty of Health and Social Care until she retired in 2009. She has a long-standing interest in oral history, ageing and old age. In relation to this, her research and publications include amongst other topics remembering in care settings, older people and intergenerational family relationships and the contribution of overseas trained doctors to the NHS with specific reference to the development of the geriatric specialty.
Her methodological interests lie in the implications of the re-use or secondary analysis of archived interviews and she has contributed to debates in this area. Linked to this is an interest in comparative oral history, spurred by her involvement in an international project, investigating religious and secular ceremonies recalled by older people in three European countries.
She has for many years been a trustee of the Oral History Society and is joint editor of the journal Oral History She is a founder member of the Centre for Ageing and Biographical Studies.
Since retirement she has continued her interest in oral history. She has taught on the annual Oral History Spring School at the Institute of Historical Research, since its inception in 2012 and has, with Professor Paul Thompson, revised his The Voice of the Past for a fourth edition, published in Spring 2017. She has continued to work on oral history projects with former OU colleagues and with members of community groups. She is a member of the Black Trade Unionists Oral History Project and of Britain at Work and, with others, is exploring the biographies of First World War conscientious objectors in the London Borough of Haringey.
2007-9, Principal investigator, with Dr Bill Bytheway, 'The Oldest Generation', one of seven projects in Timescapes, ESRC funded qualitative longitudinal study (2007-12). She was also co-ordinator of the Secondary Analysis strand in the Timescapes project.
2007-9, Principal investigator, with Dr Parvati Raghuram (OU Geography), 'The contribution of overseas trained south asian doctors to the development of the geriatric specialty', ESRC funded. Dr Leroi Henry was the research fellow on this project. All the interviews are deposited at UKData Service https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk and the British at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-guides/oral-histories-of-ethnicity-and-post-colonialism
2010 -11 Consultant for ‘Marking Transitions and Meaning across the Life Course: Older People's Memories of Religious and Secular Ceremonies in Eastern and Western Europe’ AHRC funded. Principal investigator, Professor Peter Coleman, University of Southampton.
2015-17 in preparation with Professor Ros Edwards (Southampton) and Professor Val Gillies (University of Westminster) an investigation into an aspect of the hidden history of mid-20th century community studies, the co option of wives into pioneering ethnographic studies associated with the Institute of Community Studies.
During the time she was a member of the teaching staff in the Faculty of Health and Social Care she contributed to a number of Open University courses in the areas of ageing, community care, as well as generic courses in health and social care for care workers and nurses at different levels. She has also contributed to courses in the OU Faculty of Social Science and the Department of History.
Outside The Open University she has taught modules at undergraduate and MA level on life history and oral history methodologies at the Universities of London, Sussex and East London.