BY Amanda Connelly | August 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Share your experiences for rare university project

Catholics from Scotland are being called to share their life experiences from the 1950s to 1980s as part of a research project.

Matthew Thomson, an MLitt History student at Glasgow University, is writing his dissertation on the ‘Experiences, Attitudes and Reactions of Catholics living in Scotland during the period of the 1950s and 1980s’, and hopes to hear from a variety of Catholics about their lived experiences.

“I am interested in hearing from Catholics of all different backgrounds who were living/growing up in Scotland during this period,” he said. “What sparked my interest in this topic is my own Catholic background, coupled with my studies at university, which have highlighted this era as being a particularly interesting one in the history of religion in the western world and indeed Catholicism specifically – with important events like the Second Vatican Council, the publishing of Humanae Vitae, and the Papal visit occurring in this period, amongst other things in wider society and culture.”

Mr Thomson noted that while there have been ‘numerous studies’ on Catholics in places such as England and Ireland during this period of time, similar research looking at Scotland is ‘somewhat lacking’, adding that many of his studies so far have been limited to ‘fairly scarce secondary sources and primary sources from archives.’

“I am interested in finding out about how Scottish Catholics living at this time felt about what was going on in the Church and what their life was like in this period where culture and society appeared to be evolving quickly, with liberal and conservative viewpoints often clashing quite publicly,” he explained. “For example, I am interested in things such as what people in universities/colleges (if they went into higher education) made of the experience and if they participated in societies, student movements, protests, etc.

“Also, the opening of Strathclyde University in the 1960s presented greater opportunity for people from more typically Catholic areas to attend university than previously, and I’m interested also in various aspects of this such as if they felt welcomed and how the culture at university may have differed to their home communities.”

He added that this is ‘just but one example’ of the types of things he wishes to research, and is interested in hearing about ‘life in general’ from interviewees, including what their Catholic upbringing was like, whether they brought up their own families as Catholic, if they dated/married a Catholic, what activities they took part in, their participation in the Papal visit, and more.

Those wishing to find out more information can contact Matthew via email, and he is able to provide the option of anonymising responses should you wish.

He plans to conduct interviews via audio recording which will then be transcribed, with a copy sent to the participant if they wish. He is also able to travel to the interview at a time and date suitable to them.

To contact Mr Thomson please email: or


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