Launch of the Colin and Gerri Kirkwood Archives, Strathclyde University.

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesTo be assigned


I interviewed Colin Kirkwood in March 2017, as part of my research project on ‘Literary Culture in Scotland, 1960-1990’. After sustained correspondence, Colin and Gerri Kirkwood agreed to donate their archives to the University. Colin Kirkwood is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with lifelong involvement in adult education and community action. He describes himself as a Scottish generalist with interests in literature, moral philosophy, history, politics, religion and direct democracy. Alongside his wife, Gerri Kirkwood, he has been deeply involved in writers’ workshop movements, community adult education and community action groups across the UK. Colin and Gerri Kirkwood are well-known for their pioneering work in the Adult Learning Project (ALP), which has been running for over thirty years. There are several key strands to the archives, listed below.

Scope of the Archive: Key Areas
1. Literary connections. Poetry written between 1962 and 1973. Plus letters and notes and drafts belonging to that period. These include correspondence with key Scottish writers and critics, including Edwin Morgan and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
2. Years in Staveley, North-east Derbyshire, 1969 - 1972, represented by a collection of issues of the community newspaper, Staveley Now. These documents are significant because they record and reflect on community work, community action and community adult education in its earliest years.
3. Years in Glasgow, briefly in Barrowfield, and for five years in Castlemilk, 1972 - 1976. Represented by a collection of issues of the community newspaper Castlemilk Today, which the Kirkwoods helped to found and actively coordinated. Also a small collection of the tenants' newspaper, Scottish Tenant, which Colin edited. Plus other writings and notes. These contain rare materials, which will undoubtedly be of interest to future researchers.
4. Edinburgh and south-east Scotland (1976 - 1990). Represented by writings about of the ideas of Paulo Freire, the Brazilian Adult Educator. Colin was Workers Educational Association Tutor Organiser and then District Secretary, 1976 - 86. Gerri was from 1979-1990 one of the three workers on the Adult Learning Project (ALP) based in Gorgie Dalry and later in Tollcross, to which Colin was consultant.
5. In 1986 Colin left the WEA and trained in counselling and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In 1990 Gerri left ALP and became Assistant Principal of Wester Hailes Education Centre, an Edinburgh Secondary School with a community role of which she was Head. There are some significant documents from Colin’s roles in Counselling Studies, including material on the dialogue between psychodynamic perspectives and the person-centred approach, which still characterises the orientation of Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies in Edinburgh University today.

Potential Benefits to the University
One of my PhD students, Kathryn Wilson, is already making good use of the Castlemik materials. These archives could also be of interest to a wide variety of other researchers across the Faculty, and beyond. Professor Arthur McIvor (History) has expressed some interest in the Staveley archives. Colleagues in Politics, Education, Counselling and Psychology may also find materials of value to their own research.
Period31 Oct 2010
Event typeOther
LocationGlasgow, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionLocal