Gordon Lynch, Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology in the Department of Religious Studies, has just finished his AHRC Leadership Fellows award on the post-war history of UK child migration schemes to Australia.
During the Fellowship, Gordon has produced a series of articles looking at programmes run by the Catholic and Anglican churches, the wider context of UK post-war child-care policy and the ways in which the moral cultures of churches can create unhelpful institutional responses to abuse. He is also close to completing the main Fellowship monograph which explores how national policy systems failed in ways that left child migrants vulnerable to abuse.
The Fellowship has also made possible a range of other public engagement activities linked to this work, including a national tour of the Ballads of Child Migration music project culminating in a dedicated programme of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show and a collaborative workshop on the ways in which historical research can be used to support the work of historic child abuse inquiries.
Alongside the Fellowship, Gordon has also been working as an expert witness for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry for its child migrant case study and produced a report analysing material on the nature and extent of sexual abuse of child migrants at four institutions run by the Christian Brothers in Western Australia. Building on this work, Gordon is beginning to develop further plans for collaborative research and public engagement work with others working on religion and abuse, and becoming involved in a wider project led by colleagues at Birkbeck, University of London, on the challenges of researching sensitive histories.