Dr Simon Walker

  • Research Associate (Public Health)

Biography

I joined Professor Ewan Macdonald's team at the Healthy Working Lives Group in 2021 as an Associate Researcher.

Educational Qualifications:

  • BA Hons - History University of Strathclyde, 2013.
  • MSc Health History University of Strathclyde, 2014.
  • PhD - Military Medical History (including Sociology) University of Strathclyde, 2018.
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy, 2021
  • PgCert in Teaching and Lecturing. 2021

Key positions:

  • Fellow - Royal Historical Society - 2018 - Current.
  • Member, National Suicide Alliance, 2018 - Current.
  • Independant Researcher, Fairs For Free, 2018 - Current.
  • PG Associate, Medical Humanities Group, University of Glasgow, 2020 - Current.
  • PG Associate / GTA Associate, Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI), University of Strathclyde, 2021 - Current.

Past Academic Experience:

  • Researcher and Support Worker in SIMD Development and Education - FOCUS West - 2018-2021.
  • Researcher for the Scottish Parliament - 2017, 2018 - 2019. 
  • Lecturer in Medical, Military, Gender, Sexuality, and Imperial History - University of Strathclyde - 2015 - 2021.
  • Lecturer in Social History, Politics, Medical History, and Research Methods - Glasgow Caledonian University, 2019 - 2021

Public Political and Historical Engagement / Journalism / Knowledge Exchange Publications

Academic Publications

Monographs

  • Walker Physical Control, Transformation, and Damage in the First World War: War Bodies (London: Bloomsbury, 2020).
  • Walker Silent Voices: A Long Century of British Military Suicide: 1900 – 2020 (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), (Under contract; submission in 2023)

Articles

  • Walker ‘The Greater Good: Agency and Inoculation in the British Army 1914-1918’ Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, 36.1 (2019), pp. 131-157.
  • Walker 'Synthesizing Super Soldiers' Pulse: The Journal of Science and Culture (2019), pp.17-31.
  • Walker, ‘Saving Bodies and Souls - To what extent were Army Chaplains an Important part of Medical Care in the First World War?’, Postgraduate Journal of Medical Humanities, 3 (2016), pp 24-38.

Chapters

  • Walker S. ‘Dark Gods: Societal Reflections and the Red Son in the 21st Century' in J. Darowski (ed.) Adapting Superman: Essays on the Man of Steel in Transmedia Context (USA: McFarland and Company, 2021), 21-36.
  • Walker, S. ‘Silent Voices: British Soldier Suicides in the First World War.’ Da Silver, H. (ed.) Hecatombs of War, (Stern: Peter Lang, 2019), pp.25-55

 

Research interests

Military Suicide and Mental Health Research: I am currently contracted to publish my second monograph, Silent Voices: A Century of British Military Suicide in 2023 with Palgrave McMillian. This is based upon my ongoing research project into military suicide within Britain between 1900 and 2020 and has included a blend of significant historical research into archives and personal testimonies, and 1-2-1 engagement with individuals who have experience or association with suicide through the recording of Oral History interviews and transcripts. A significant part of my research has demanded the developing and maintaining of positive relationships with multiple stakeholders and interested individuals/groups. I have built relationships with colleagues across all the universities in Scotland with several more internationally across the USA, Europe, Canada, and Australia. I have also worked and supported several organisations focused on mental health and the military including Combat Stress, Erskine, Fares4Free, the NHS, The Scottish Government, FirstLight Trust, MIND, The British Legion, Poppy Scotland, Veteran First Point, and Focus in Mind Trust. Documentary analysis of suicide events and associated literature has been a significant aspect of this work. Through working through a combination of official reports, historical testimonies, and newspaper articles over the last century I have been able to extrapolate qualitative and quantitative data to construct a database of military-related suicides over the last century with key criteria including motivation, method, medical support, suicide note, age, and gender.

This has also had a practical element as work with Fares4Free lead to the development of the Triage Support Network (TSN) as submitted to the Scottish Government in December 2020 for consideration for adoption. My report, which included considerations of suicide and veteran needs, highlighted that much more needed to be done for these individuals who were currently being overlooked by the government support efforts. Additionally, I have also brought my experience to help other charities such as First Light by reiterating the importance of Veteran and Service Personnel mental health and the impact that COVID and isolation have had on their wellbeing. This short-term research is ongoing and will culminate in several reports to be shared with the Westminster and Scottish Governments.

 

Higher Education – Access and Limitation in Rurality and areas of Economic Disparity: While working at FOCUS West for  three years I conducted considerable research within communities focused upon access to education. A significant aspect of this research has been the organisation and management of Focus Groups which have included individuals from all aspects of the Higher Education experience such as students, teachers, lecturers, managers, careers advisors, and parents. This research has also focused upon additional constraints such as race, economic disparity, and sexuality. This research has enabled me to travel all over Scotland carrying out interviews and focus group sessions focused upon barriers faced by individuals to gain access to education. 

 

Community and Arts-Based Research – Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement: I have been involved in a great deal of community-based research projects such as Beyond Epilepsy, The Festival of Politics, the Bellahouston Memorial, and Feeding Under Fire. Within each of these project's engagement with the public and community was essential. Beyond Epilepsy produced new research into the treatment of epileptics through the output of several artists and musicians with epilepsy which evolved from research workshops to a three-week art exhibition in 2016. The recorded interviews with these participants became part of the interactive exhibition. For the Festival of Politics exhibitions in 2017, 18, and 19, I was required to organise several stakeholder meetings and chair focus groups with research participants focused upon a range of topics including mental health, violence, alcoholism, rave culture, gender discrimination, and LGBTQ issues. This balancing of stakeholder and participant requirements was an excellent learning curve and concluded with several successful exhibitions held in the Parliament in Edinburgh. Finally, both Bellahouston and Feeding Under Fire involved the support of schools and students. The former involved working 1-2-1 with pupils who brought family mementos and supported interviews with older generation relatives to trace and uncover experiences of war. The latter focused upon food and history, consisting of an educational YouTube series that was then used in schools as part of learning plans. My experience in Community and Public Engagement activities and events experience extends into taking part in over 100 individual events over the last five years and being part of numerous bodies and organisations. For my work into military suicide, this has been useful through participant observation as my presence at events such as artistic performances or online forum discussions has allowed me to observe behaviours when sharing and discussing experiences of mental health trauma and suicide. In 2020-21 I was part of the Peace of Mind Workshop with the Sofia Centre for Creative Research which was a powerful experience as contributor which opened up new opportunities for collaboration and future research.