Dr. Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. He is currently Senior Research Fellow in contemporary Scottish history at Dundee University. Previously he has been Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research Scotland was Research Fellow in cultural policy at the University of the West of Scotland where he completed and was awarded his PhD. Gerry has written and edited numerous books on Scotland and the wider world: from the setting up of the Parliament, to its record, policy, in-depth studies of the Labour Party and SNP, and looking at how we imagine the future.
His publications include ‘The Scottish Labour Party: History, Institutions and Ideas’ (Edinburgh University Press 2004); ‘The Scottish National Party: From Protest to Power’ (Edinburgh University Press 2009); and ‘After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade’ (Lawrence and Wishart 2006). Two books came out of the Demos Scotland 2020 and Glasgow 2020 projects – both of which had significant national and international reach and influence: the first: ‘Scotland 2020: Hopeful Stories for a Northern Nation’ (Demos 2005); and the second: ‘The Dreaming City: Glasgow 2020 and the Power of Mass Imagination’ (Demos 2007).
Other publications include ‘The Strange Death of Labour Scotland’ (co-written with Eric Shaw; Edinburgh University Press 2012), ‘Radical Scotland: Arguments for Self-Determination’ (co-edited with Rosie Ilett; Luath Press 2011) and ‘After Independence’ (co-edited with James Mitchell; Luath Press 2013).
‘Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland’ was published by Luath Press in April 2014 and proved to be one of the bestsellers of the year in Scotland and in the debate around the independence referendum. It was described by Elaine C. Smith as ‘an intelligent, brave and much needed contribution to the debate’ while the writer Fintan O. Toole called it a ‘bracing, searching, discomfiting and ultimately exhilarating book’.
More recent publications have included ‘Independence of the Scottish Mind’ (Palgrave Macmillan 2014): a study of the public sphere in Scotland, how political and cultural conversations and debates are constructed, and which voices are privileged and which voices are marginalised. At the same time Gerry came up with, defined and quantified the idea of ‘the missing Scotland’ and ‘the missing million’ – based on the people and parts of Scotland which had not voted in nearly a generation – and which became one of the defining dimensions of Scotland’s independence referendum.
Subsequent publications have included ‘Scottish National Party Leaders’ (co-edited with James Mitchell; Biteback Press 2016), ‘Scotland’s Referendum and the Media: National and International Perspectives’ (co-edited with Neil Blain and David Hutchison; Edinburgh University Press 2016).
His ‘Scotland the Bold: How our Nation has changed and why there is no going back’ (Freight Press 2016) was lauded by the author and cultural force Alan Bissett who said: ‘Gerry Hassan proves himself one of our foremost social commentators’ who ‘urges Scots to use the political energy and education of the referendum to effect serious, radical change in our communities’ in an argument and style which is ‘hugely inspiring’ and ‘exciting’.
The tenth anniversary of the SNP in office saw ‘A Nation Changed? The SNP and Scotland Ten Years On’ (co-edited with Simon Barrow; Luath Press 2017) and the IPPR publication ‘Scotland, Brexit and the UK: A Guide to the Future’ (co-edited with Simon Barrow; Luath Press 2017).
Forthcoming research includes examining the Labour Party and Britishness; the extent of social democracy in post-war Scotland; social change, policy practice and public services; and assessing the twentieth anniversary of Scottish devolution, the role of the Scottish Parliament, and how wider politics and society have changed.
Gerry’s activities include speaking at conferences and events in Scotland, the UK and internationally on themes ranging from contemporary Scotland, the UK, social change and imagining the future. He also facilitates events, discussions and conversations. Gerry produced the Changin Scotland weekends of politics, culture and ideas in The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool which provided a reflective space for non-partisan, non-aligned discussions for thirteen years running twenty-five weekends (2002-15). He subsequently became co-director of Imagination: Scotland’s Festival of Ideas and ran in 2014 and 2015 two successive multi-venue, multi-disciplinary festivals, which have been followed up by a series of more specialist events and discussions.
Gerry welcomes invitations to write, research and speak on a variety of subjects, and also to organise and contribute to the creation and facilitation of events and discussions. He can be contacted through the contact details on this website.