Public engagement with research award
Since 2014, Professor Lynch has been engaged in research on the history of UK child migration programmes. These sent around 100,000 children, unaccompanied by parents, to other parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth between 1869 and 1970.
This was the foundation for an extensive and significant range of engagement activities that have shaped public understanding and policy. These have included curating a V&A exhibition, visited by 310k visitors, of whom 84% had little or no understanding of this history before seeing it.
This led to the development of a musical project, The Ballads of Child Migration, with the production company 7digital where leading British folk musicians were commissioned to write songs reflecting British child migrants’ experiences.
Beyond this, Gordon was asked to serve as an expert witness by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) for its investigation of the abuse of former British child migrants. He co-wrote a main report and twenty-one addenda (totalling 250k words) which examined the policy context, working methods and contemporaneous knowledge of abuse in the post-war child migration schemes.
The central recommendation of the Inquiry was that the UK Government establish a redress scheme for all surviving British child migrants in recognition of its failure to safeguard the welfare of all British child migrants according to standards of the day. This scheme made payments of £20,000 each to British child migrants (at a total estimated cost of £40m).
On the basis of his work for IICSA, Lynch was appointed in September 2018 as an expert witness for a similar investigation of the abuse of Scottish child migrants by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.