It is with great sadness that the Institute of Population Ageing has learnt of the death of Dr Francesca Ghillani (10 March 1978 - 8 September 2021), a Research Fellow at the Institute.
Francesca faced disability and chronic illness across her life. After a very short and unexpected decline this week, she was in hospice care for only a few days before very calmly and peacefully passing away yesterday, 8th September 2021.
"Francesca was an amazing and courageous women with an always positive attitude to life and its challenges, and it was an absolute privilege to be her supervisor. She played a full part in the Institute life until the end and will be a huge loss to our community - both personally and academically. She was a true inspiration to all who knew her".
DPhil supervisor, Professor Sarah Harper
Francesca joined the Institute as a DPhil student in 2009 and obtained her DPhil from the Department of Sociology on Migrating Bodies: the Effects of Transnational Movement on Women's Bodily Practices in Later Life. She was a graduate student at Wolfson College. She was then appointed in 2017 to an Institute Research Fellowship.
Prior to Oxford, Francesca successfully passed the postgraduate degree “Consultant in Autobiographical and Self-Analytical Writing in Assistance Relationships” at the University of Milan - Bicocca. She graduated in Humanities (BA and MA) with 110/110 summa cum laude (full marks with honours) at the University of Parma, Italy. Her thesis, a personal account about critical autobiography and otherness, was selected as one of the winners of the national thesis prize “Antonio e Luigi Goi”. Francesca then worked at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Parma, carrying out studies about Qualitative Methods and the relationship between identity and narration.
During her time as a student at the University of Oxford, Francesca was an active and contributory colleague to fellow students. She was extremely active with Institute DPhil and Master's students as a mentor and student advisor.
In 2015 and 2016, Francesca was elected President of the Oxford University Italian Society and, in this capacity, she has established a network with the Italian Embassy and the Italian Consulate in London. Under her presidency, the Society has won the Prize as “Best Society of the University”.
At Wolfson College, Francesca was the founder and the Chair of the Life-Stories Society (2011 – 2014), which held regular meetings and workshops on life-writing and an annual “Life-Stories Day” at Wolfson College. She served on the Wolfson College Governing Body (2012 – 2014); the Academic Committee (2011 – 2013); and the Social and Cultural Committee (2011 – 2014).
The Institute will be setting up an on-line book of condolences, and we will be sharing further news over the coming days on her families wishes for remembrance, which will be posted on our website.