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People :: Alumni :: Gary Clapton

Gary Clapton

Gary Clapton

PhD in Social Work 2000

Graduated: 2000

I’m now a member of staff and have been since 2003, three years after receiving my doctorate. My doctorate was on the subject of birth fathers in adoption and I chose to explore this subject because I am one (a birth father).

I began my studies at the end of 1994. At that time I was part-time working in a Scottish adoption agency called Birthlink and part-time for the City of Edinburgh Social Work Department. I first floated the idea of the doctorate the year before with the then head of Social Work who was John Triseliotis. Professor Triseliotis was famous for his pioneering work on adoption In Search of Origins. His study brought alive the implications of adoption for adults and birth parents alike in its normalising of adopted people’s wish to know more about their origins. To cut a long story short, Professor Triseliotis gave me the boost I needed to begin my five year-long, part-time PhD research.

My connection with the University reached further back when the Moray House School of Education and the University merged in 1998. Moray House was where I studied to become a social worker 1975-1977. Actually it was the Regent Road Annexe that hosted the social work programme then (the teachers had the grander building on Holyrood Rd.). The Regent Road building still exists. It became a ‘Tech Base’, whatever that it is, seems mostly under-occupied today and in a spooky co-incidence, my plumber now rents space there to store his tools. True story.

My favourite memory of studying for my PhD here is shouting at my children for interrupting my work on fatherhood…It is not one I’m proud of.

Within two years of gaining my doctorate, I was offered a lecturing post. The interview took place by conference call (pre-Skype) as I sat in our mobile home we’d rented for two weeks on a campsite in France. But I wore a shirt and tie so as to get myself in the mood to convince the panel that I was hireable.

Since my appointment, I have been fortunate to become a senior lecturer and every day I love what I do and who I work with.

Source: own contribution.