I am a historian of migration and diaspora. My main research interest is in immigrant community life, especially ethnic associational culture. I haveprimarily focused on the Scottish and English diasporas, but the scope of my research has widened to include broader aspects of immigrant collective action over time. This has included work on the European diaspora in the UK and the British diaspora in the EU/EEA/Switzerland post-Brexit.
My current project is entitled 'Transeuropean Scots: Scotland’s European Diaspora Post-Brexit in Longitudinal Perspective' and funded with a Personal Research Fellowship by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. While Scottish diaspora scholarship has expanded significantly, continental Europe has received relatively little attention and we lack understanding of how Scotland’s European diaspora is an interconnected part of ‘global Scotland’. Brexit brings this into sharp focus, marking a rupture in Scotland’s relationship with continental Europe that has real impact on the Scottish immigrant community there. Utilising Scottish associations as a lens and drawing upon hitherto neglected archives, a survey and interviews, the proposed project seeks to demonstrate change and/or persistence of the Scots’ diasporic organisation over time to assess what it can tell us about Scottish present-day migrant life in continental Europe. In so doing, the project will offer a new reading of Scotland’s European diaspora as one of ‘transeuropean Scots’: connected diasporically with each other and to Scotland, but also with a continental Europe post-Brexit in which they now live as Europeans who no longer are EU citizens.
Beyond my immediate research, I also engage the wider public with my research and I work with NGOs, think tanks, community groups and museums to do so.
I was Principal Investigator of the ESRC Future Research Leaders project ‘European, Ethnic and Expatriate: A Longitudinal Comparison of British and German Social Networking and Associational Formations in Modern-day Asia’, and Co-Investigator of the AHRC funded project ‘Locating the Hidden Diaspora: The English in North America in Transatlantic Perspective, 1760-1950’.
I joined Strathclyde in August 2020 and welcome enquiries from prospective Masters and PhD students interested in working on topics to do with migration and diaspora history or the history of ethnic associational culture, immigrant community life and collective action.