Professor Arthur McIvor


Personal statement

My research interests are in the history of work and occupational health where I’ve played a significant role over the past two decades in applying an oral history methodology. My work thus lies at the intersection of the sub-disciplines of labour and medical history. My recent publications reflect this, including a co-authored book, Miners’ Lung (Ashgate, 2007), my monograph Working Lives: Work in Britain since 1945 (Palgrave 2013) and the co-authored book Men in Reserve: British Civilian Masculinity in the Second World War (Manchester University Press, 2016). Generous financial support from external funders has contributed to these research outputs, including the AHRC, the Wellcome Trust, the Nuffield Foundation and the Hudson Trust. I am currently working on projects on the transnational gendered health impacts of industrialisation and deindustrialisation (including collaboration in a major Canadian SSHRC funding bid 2019-20); working lives in the Scottish and Irish whisky industry (funded by Diageo, Irish Distillers and Chivas); and occupational health during the Second World War. 


In my role as Director (since 2005) of the Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC) I have overseen its development into an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchange centre for oral history. I am passionate about oral history and have played a leading role in getting oral history situated as one of the four research strengths of the History subject area at the University of Strathclyde, in teaching through our undergraduate and postgraduate oral history pathways, in providing advanced oral history training through the SGSAH/SS and in supervising dissertation, Masters and PhD theses deploying oral history methodologies.


I strongly believe that academic research should have a significant public impact and that there should be deep engagement with the public and wider stakeholders. I have tried to do this in my own research where my oral history approach to occupational respiratory disease and disability has had a significant effect on understanding the diverse and complex impacts of contracting such diseases upon identities, health and well-being, including in relation to the ongoing asbestos-related disease epidemic. I held a Knowledge Transfer Fellowship with Glasgow Museums in 2010-11 and have developed close links with museums, archives, community groups and some businesses, which has significantly impacted on their practices, including their understanding of the importance of memory heritage and the role of the voice in reconstructing past lived experience. I submitted a public impact case study to REF2014 and will submit another: 'Memory in Public History' to REF2021. The latter will incorporate a new MOOC (FutureLearn) I have been working on (with Kirstie Blair) over 2019 on coal miners' working lives (in collaboration with coal mining museums). 


I have extensive experience of postgraduate supervision and welcome enquiries from prospective Masters and doctoral students interested in any aspects of the history of work, occupational health and safety, and deindustrialisation – especially those interested in deploying oral history methodology.




Guardians of workers' bodies? Trade unions and the history of occupational health and safety
McIvor A
Labour History Vol 119 (2021)
Blighted live : Deindustrialisation, health and well-being in the Clydeside region
McIvor Arthur
20 & 21: Revue d'histoire Vol 144 (2019)
Where is 'Red Clydeside'? Industrial heritage, working-class culture and memory in the Glasgow region
McIvor Arthur
Constructing Industrial Pasts Industrial Heritage Making in Britain, the West and Post-Socialist Countries (2019) (2019)
见证 : 口述史方法与英国煤矿业职业健康和伤残研究
McIvor Arthur
Journal of the Social History of Medicine and Health Vol 4, pp. 167-198 (2019)
导言 : 历史和比较视阈下的煤炭开采、健康、伤残和身体
McIvor Arthur
Journal of the Social History of Medicine and Health Vol 4, pp. 3-12 (2019)
'Scrap-heap' stories : oral narratives of labour and loss in Scottish mining and manufacturing
McIvor Arthur
BIOS - Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral History und Lebensverlaufsanalysen Vol 31, pp. 8-21 (2019)

More publications

Professional activities

International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases, conference, 28-29 May 2020. Keynote: ‘Guardians of workers’ bodies: The rise and fall of trade unions in occupational health and safety’.
Keynote/plenary speaker
Understanding the Deindustrial Body: The Legacies of Occupational Injuries and Disease in the Former Kent Coalfield (Sophie Rowland)
Mobilizing the Home: The Politics of Female Space, Women’s Working Class Consciousness, and the Labor Movement in the U.S. and Britain, 1912-1922 (Shannon Kirkwood)
Oral History Society Annual Conference
Keynote/plenary speaker
MOOC: Working Lives in Coal Mining
Radio interview for French public radio France Culture – Cultures Monde (radioFrance), 11 Sept 2018 by Marguerite Catton (translated English to French) on the health impacts of the end of coal mining in the UK

More professional activities


Oral Histories of life in the Row Villages
McIvor, Arthur (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
Deindustrialization and the Politics of Our Time
McIvor, Arthur (Principal Investigator)
Please see also 191203
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2027
Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard Oral History Project
Walker, David (Researcher) McIvor, Arthur (Principal Investigator)
An oral history project interviewing former and current employees of Midleton Distillery owned by Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard. The project involved discussions with individuals about their direct experiences in the development of the Irish whiskey industry. The narratives will be added as a distinct collection to the Archives of Irish Distillers and used as a point of reference for future research.
15-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2018
Irish Distillers Cork Oral History
McIvor, Arthur (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2018
Guinness oral history project
McIvor, Arthur (Principal Investigator) Walker, David (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2017
Talisker oral history project
McIvor, Arthur (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 30-Jan-2016

More projects