Meet the Postgraduates: Peter Kormylo, University of Glasgow

Travelling Ukrainian with his dancing bear outside the Hole in the Wall Pub, Dumfries, 1907

Travelling Ukrainian with his dancing bear outside the Hole in the Wall Pub, Dumfries, 1907

What was your academic background before beginning your PhD?

My undergraduate degrees were completed with Edinburgh University and the Open University many years ago. I am now a retired civil servant complete with bus pass and Senior Rail Card.

Tell us about your research.

My PhD is with Glasgow University and is entitled “The Migration, Settlement and Assimilation of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Scotland – a diachronic study.” Having lived in contact with Scotland’s Ukrainians for the last 65 years I have always wanted to take time to contribute academically to charting the progress of my small community. My supervisors are Dr. Valentina Bold and Doctor Moya Flynn. I am in my second year of studies and, with ethics committee approval, have begun conducting interviews. My timeline starts with the Tsarist lawyer Semen Desnytsky, a pupil of Adam Smith here in Glasgow. I am keen to track "Little Russian" medics who studied in Scotland during the Enlightenment.

What are your plans for the future?

My community in Scotland deserves to be left a legacy of robust research and valued archival material. If I complete this degree I hope to publish a book entitled Scotland’s Ukrainians. If my efforts leave only a few robust journal articles, I will have done something useful. To stimulate interest in this area, I launched a blog, which has attracted a goodly number of hits.

There is one particular chapter of my research that is challenging and I am hopeful for help from BASEES members. I am attempting to muster biographies of early migrant Ukrainians who may also have been known as Jews, ‘Little Russians’, ‘Poles’, and 'Austrians’ and who have lived or worked in Scotland over the last 250 years. If you can help, please contact me at

I am brand new to BASEES and looking forward to meeting members at the April Conference in Cambridge!