William Burns

email - w.burns.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Research title: Threads of Memory: Oral History and Paisley's Thread Mills

Research Summary

William is interested in how stories of the past can be represented in creative writing. He uncovers memories in interviews and explores the intersections of oral history and literary studies. By developing an interdisciplinary methodology, and presenting lived experience in new forms, William aims to widen access to, and engagement with, often marginalised narratives.

His current research focuses on women’s memories of work in Paisley’s historic thread mills, and how these experiences can be represented in creative writing responding to oral history interviews.

Research Interests:

Oral history; Paisley’s Thread Mills; Autoethnography; Contemporary Poetry; Scottish Literature; Postcolonial Literature.



‘Anchor Mill!’, From Glasgow to Saturn, Spring 2019


Nameless Country by A.C. Jacobs’, The Bottle Imp, December 2018

HWFG by Chris McQueer’, The Bottle Imp, Forthcoming 2019

Biography of an Industrial Town by Alessandro Portelli’, Oral History Review, Forthcoming 2019.


Grants & Awards

  • College of Arts Postgraduate Excellence Bursary, University of Glasgow, 2017-2020: £57,600.
  • Collaborative Research Award, University of Glasgow, 2018: £1380.
  • Research Support Award, 2017-2018: £450.
  • Full studentship covering fees and stipend for the completion of PhD


  • ‘Oral History in Challenging Times’, Oral History Association’s Annual Conference, October 2018, Montreal
  • ‘Local Communities: Global World’, Historical Perspectives’ Annual Conference, June 2018, Glasgow
  • ‘Ah Wis in the Mill’, Exhibition, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, 2016


  • English Literature 2A: Writing and Ideology

Additional Information


  • Editor, Kelvingrove Review, 2017-2018
  • Conference Convener, Historical Perspectives, 2017-2019
  • Member, Centre for Gender History, 2018-
  • Member, Textual Editing Lab, 2019-

Organisational Committees

  • Theory at Random
  • Approaching Autoethnography in the Arts
  • Historical Perspectives