Calum Aikman

PhD Student - History

  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Contact details



William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place

Post code


Calum Aikman grew up in an ex-mining community in nearby Midlothian, and attended local schools. He has degrees from the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, and in 2016 began his doctoral studies under the supervision of Professor Ewen Cameron and Dr Robert Crowcroft, with the aid of a full studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). From 2011 to 2012 Calum was a research assistant to Professor Cameron, working on the 'Fyffe Family History Project'. 


2012 - 2013: MSc (by Research) History, University of Edinburgh

2005 - 2008: BA History (later MA Cantab.), University of Cambridge

Responsibilities & affiliations

Postgraduate Member, The Royal Historical Society

Steering Committee Member, Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History, University of Edinburgh

Member, The British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA)

Member, History & Policy Trade Union Forum

Member, University of Edinburgh Political History Research Group

Research summary

Calum's research concerns the divisions that became apparent among the Right wing of the British Labour Party in the 1970s. These divisions have been portrayed as the beginnings of a permanent schism between intellectual middle-class ‘revisionists’ on the one hand, and populist working-class ‘traditionalists’ on the other. Calum intends to examine these forces and their ideas (especially those of the latter, which have often been ignored or denied altogether), with the ultimate aim of questioning just how valid such a dichotomy is in understanding the nature of the Labour Party Right during this period.

Current research interests

Modern Scottish and British History; History of Political Thought; Labour and Trade Union History

Book Chapter: Calum Aikman, ‘Frank Chapple: a thoughtful trade union moderniser’, in Peter Ackers and Alastair J. Reid (eds.), Alternatives to State Socialism in Britain: Other Worlds of Labour in the Twentieth-Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 211-42.

Journal Article: Calum Aikman, ‘The Birth of the Social Democratic Party in Scotland’, Contemporary British History, 27:3 (2013) pp. 324-47.

'Frank Chapple: A Thoughtful Trade Union Moderniser', The British Universities Industrial Relations Association Conference, University of Portsmouth, June 2017 (awarded the prize of best paper in the early career category)

'The Birth of the Social Democratic Party in Scotland, 1981-1983', Scottish History Research Seminars, University of Edinburgh, April 2015.

'The SDP and the Trade Unions', 9th European Social Science History Conference, University of Glasgow, April 2012.