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University lecturer keen to talk to Nigg fabrication yard workers as part of research project

By Caroline McMorran

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A UNIVERSITY lecturer is keen to connect with current and former workers at Nigg fabrication yard and their families as part of a research project he is undertaking.

Dr Ewan Gibbs of Glasgow University is a published author and historian of work and labour in energy industries in Scotland and across the UK.

Dr Ewan Gibbs of Glasgow University.
Dr Ewan Gibbs of Glasgow University.

He says: “I’m currently researching parts of Britain which have experienced major changes associated with the energy economy since the middle of the 20th century, concentrating on workplace and community perspectives.

“My research project includes a study of the Nigg fabrication yard and I’m interested in exploring the life of the yard from the early days of the North Sea oil platform construction boom through to the current experience of assembling wind turbines on the Cromarty Firth.”

Dr Gibbs hopes to record oral histories with former and current workers, technicians and managers at the yard, and their children and family members as well as other local people.

“I am hopeful of recording memories of what it means for the area to host large-scale industry for the first time,” he says.

“The experiences of the new world of comparatively high wages, working for American managers and of workers arriving from elsewhere in Scotland and across the UK and residing in repurposed cruise ships are all part of my interest.

“The transformations that the North Sea oil industry brought to Scotland were perhaps evident nowhere more than on the Cromarty Firth.”

Dr Gibbs continued: “Recollections of the workplace itself are important for understanding events such as the famous 1983 “Orange Juice Strike”, but so are memories of more routine elements of daily life at the yard and in the areas which depended on it for employment.

“Life histories are crucial for grounding our understanding of what the North Sea oil and gas sector has meant for areas which have been most affected by it, and are now at the centre of discussions of the industry’s future, as well as in debates over the potential for renewables to provide a future of green employment for Scottish workers.”

Anyone who would like to take part in an interview or hear more about the project, can contact Dr Gibbs by email at: ewan.gibbs@glasgow.ac.uk

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